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Food hygiene ratings and scores on doors

October 19, 2015

Local councils routinely conduct food safety inspections on commercial food businesses to ensure that they are complying with the relevant food safety standards. This practice aims to protect the health of Australians by ensuring that food businesses are maintaining a high-level of food safety.

The “Scores on Doors” system, which is operated by many local councils, takes the results from the routine food safety inspections and turns them into an easy-to-understand star rating.

A 5-star rating is considered “excellent”, a 4-star rating is “very good” and a 3-star rating is “good”. Those food businesses that receive less than 3-stars are not given a rating and instead are advised of what they need to address before they are reinspected.

Which businesses receive a scores on doors rating?

The Scores on Doors system does not offer all food businesses a rating. It instead focuses on the businesses that prepare ready-to-eat food intended for immediate consumption – and is therefore potentially hazardous when not properly prepared.

In general, the Scores on Doors system applies to:

  • Cafes and restaurants
  • Clubs and pubs
  • Hotels
  • Bakeries
  • Takeaway shops

What is included in a scores on doors rating?

A business’s rating is based on the results of regular council inspections. This means it will typically include results taken about:

  • Cleaning and sanitation
  • Health and hygiene
  • Food storage and display
  • Food processing and packaging
  • Pest control
  • Structure and maintenance

However, although the Scores on Doors system is open to all councils, there are still many that don’t participate. This means that if you can’t see a star sticker in the window, the business didn’t necessarily receive a rating under 3-stars. It could mean the business is a member of a non-participating council.

How can I help my business prepare?

If your business participates in the Scores on Doors program, you can contact your local council for information what is covered in your inspections. The NSW Food Authority has a self-check form that you can download from their website to help you prepare for your inspection. They have also compiled a factsheet on the top 5 most common issues found by their council inspectors so you know what to watch out for.

However, one of the best ways to achieve an “excellent” rating is by ensuring that your food business constantly maintains a high standard of food safety. To help you achieve this, you are often required to nominate a Food Safety Supervisor who will oversee the food handling practices in the business. To enrol in a Food Safety Supervisor course, visit our course page!