Friday 6 October 2017

Food Hygiene Ratings iOS Guide

This is a guide to using the Food Hygiene Ratings UK iOS app. The app looks up food hygiene ratings from Food Standards Agency, If you do not have the app, click the link below from your iPhone/iPad:

 Food Hygiene Ratings UK

If you have an Android device, please visit the Android guide


Please update to the latest version of the app, version 1.03.00 available from the 1st October 2018.
There is a bug in earlier versions of the app to do with the component scores for hygiene, structural and management. Some establishments have no published component score data however the app will show default scores of 0 for these establishments.  To verify an establishment's component score, open the link from within the app to view the establishment's details on the FSA website.

Quick Search

Open the app and enter Cottage Loaf in the name field and Llandudno in the place, press search on the keyboard or press the search icon in the top right.

We ended up going 'Spoons instead

The app will send a query off to the FSA website and then display the results returned from the FSA database. All data is live and up to date, no information is stored in the app. As you can see the Cottage Loaf scores a 5 (Very Good) and you can see a bit of the address, press the result to get more details.

An interactive mini map is displayed, you can move and zoom this map. The FSA data for the geographical co-ordinates can be inaccurate, here though the app will use the business address to look up precise co-ordinates to place the pin accurately.

You can scroll through the data to see a breakdown of the scores for 3 categories: hygiene, structural and management, you can click on the info icon for information about the category. These scores are like hazard points, so lower the score the better. The range of possible scores is 0-30 in steps of 5, with 0 the best and 30 the worst. You can find a more detailed explanation of the scores on page 35 of the FHRS guidance notes.

As you can see this business was rated on June 27th 2017 and has been awarded a 5 (Very Good). 
If for any reason a business is displaying an incorrect score on its doors, you can use the app to send an email to local authority from this screen,  the app will even fill in the business details to save you typing.

You can also view the establishment details directly on the FSA website 

It's official, nuff said

Near Me

The app can use the devices location to find establishments near to you. You will be asked to give the app permission to use location services, press Near Me from the main screen:

Pig Dog's Fodder

The app uses different colours to represent the scores 0-5. On a Near Me search the app will also show the distance of the establishment from your location.

When you have many results the app will sort the results by distance and group them by business category. You can press the index on the right hand side to jump to the different categories.

Map Searches

From a list of results, press the map button on the top right to view the results on a map.

Football rating: Improvement Required

The pins are coloured similarly as the list to represent the various scores 0-5, blue pins indicate pending ratings. Press a pin to view the business name, on the pop up, you can press the info icon to view all the details of the establishment.

Please note that the app uses the data from the FSA to place the pins, this data can be quite inaccurate and you will typically find that a lot of pins are stacked on top of each other. 

The map is interactive, you can move and zoom and also perform a map search. Move the map to the area you wish to search, press the search icon in the top right and the app will search for establishments in a 1 mile radius from the centre point of the map. If you press back, the app will go back to the list which will be updated with the new map search results showing the distance of the business from the centre of the map.

Filter Results

Here I've entered Llanberis in the place field on the main screen and pressed search

Yay Dinorwig Power Station

In the search filter above start typing the name of the business you are looking for

Good hiking nosh

In this example, I've entered McDonalds in the Name field to find all the McDonalds in the UK

4 more and they will be Elite

I then press 2 in the search filter, which filters by rating

To be fair, McD's are nearly all 4/5's

Advanced Searches

Let's say you are looking for a decent pub on Anglesey

Scottish ratings also supported

Enter the business type, Pub/bar/nightclub. Area Anglesey and specify the hygiene rating should be 4 or 5.

Plenty to go at

Now that's a pub crawl

Trouble Shooting

Different Score?

I often see comments saying the app is out of date, the score on the door doesn't match. The app itself does not store any data, it fetches all data from the FSA. So if you see a business is displaying a different rating to the app, it's possible that the FSA database has not been updated or the business has not removed the old sign and put up the new. 

The app allows you to send an email to the Local Authority where you can request clarification.

Establishment Not Listed

You type in the name and place and your favourite take-away is not found, one problem maybe the place you have specified is not in the business address, so the app will not find the business. So try widening the address, eg change Westminster to London.

Ok you do a map search and its still not showing up. The most likely explanation in this case, is that the business has not yet been rated, the FSA has quite a backlog of work. It's also possible that the business has recently changed name. 

Try finding the establishment on the FSA website,
If the establishment is found on the website, but not the app, please send me the name/address of the establishment so I can take a look.

Spurious Search Results

Search for Nando's and you will find also Lando's. The FSA database search algorithm is not so strict which is handy if you make spelling mistakes but can be frustrating if you are getting too many irrelevant matches. Fortunately the app is easy and quick to use, so browsing a huge list of results in combination with the filter make it easier for you to find the establishment you are looking for.

Try the advanced search features to specify your search further, eg for The Swan at Stone, also specify the local authority area, eg Stafford, as there are lots of places called Stone.

No Results

For some users the app does not find any results at all. I've still yet to find the cause, to help me I've included some logging in the app. To enable logging, exit the app, open the settings app, open the settings for the Food Hygiene Ratings UK app and enable logging:

When the app tells you that it has found no results, instead it should now give you the option of emailing me the log file.

Scottish Rating System

The app is UK wide and supports establishments that have been rated with the Scottish Ratings System, eg Pass/Pass Plus/Improvement Required.

Red Triangle - Improvement Required


All ratings information is provided by the Food Standards Agency,
The app and this blog post are not affiliated and have not been endorsed by the FSA.

Images from the FSA, icons provided by

The app is free of charge and is ad funded. Ads are provided by Google Admob, the app will only display a banner along the bottom of the screen. 


For any other problems please send me an email via the feedback button on the main screen. 

To help keep updates coming, I'd be grateful if you could take the time to rate the app on the App Store. Also spread the word, tell your friends about the app, you can do this easily by pressing the 'Tell Your Friends' button which will share a link to the app via Facebook / Twitter (if you have the apps installed) or email.