Food Hygiene Control Programme FAQs


The Food Hygiene Control Programme is an optional scheme dedicated to supporting a range of food businesses, from restaurants, pubs, cafés and takeaways, with an effective risk assessment and consistent hygiene standard which is offered around the world through an independent body. The scheme aims to provide consumers with the assurance that the establishments have been audited in accordance with good food hygiene practice requirements.

The scheme provides consumers with information and assurance that specific restaurants, pubs, cafés, takeaways, hotels, supermarkets and other food shops are committed and engaged with the continual improvement of their hygiene practices through Intertek's Hygiene Control Programme.

The scheme is run by Intertek.

Intertek is responsible for carrying out audits of food businesses to check that they meet the requirements according to an internal standard that assesses best practices for hygiene.

Marks are given to places where you can eat out, such as restaurants, takeaways, cafés, sandwich shops, pubs and hotels.

Marks can also be given to other places you eat away from home, such as schools, hospitals and residential care homes. As this is an optional scheme, it is the choice of the businesses themselves if they wish to invest in an independent and globally available hygiene scheme.

An Intertek Hygiene Auditor will conduct a risk assessment and hygiene control audit based on the best practices defined by Intertek that will monitor a number of areas, including:

1. How hygienically the food is handled - how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored
2. Employee understanding of good hygiene practices and the general food safety and hygiene culture at the premises
3. The condition of the structure of the buildings - the cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities
4. In some cases, the auditor may collect swab samples, and/or have the findings validated by collecting samples and testing oil, ice and water from various zones, including service rooms, dishwashers and laundries, if applicable

Each element is essential for making sure that food hygiene standards meet requirements and that businesses are engaged in a continual hygiene improvement process.

The information in the audit report is property of the organisation or establishment. Intertek is not permitted to share this information without the organisation or establishment's specific request.

Audits take place on average up to four times per annum and combine announced and unannounced audits.

The scheme is designed so that sites are visited on average up to four times per year in order to provide a snapshot of their food hygiene performance within the full scope of the audit plan. This provides essential information to establishment managers and enables them to make decisions on how to continually improve their hygiene practices.

The Food Hygiene Control Programme reflects the hygiene standards found at the time the business was audited by a food hygiene auditor. These are valid for a 12 month period if you have any concerns about hygiene standards in any food outlet you have visited. You can also check the validity of their certificate on our website.

You can search for it on our website.

When you eat out or shop for food, you might see a sticker in the window or on the door showing you the Food Hygiene Control Mark for that business. Businesses are encouraged to display these stickers and certificates in a place where you can easily see them when you visit. If you don't see the Mark at a takeaway or other food business, you can ask a member of staff if they are part of the Intertek Food Hygiene Control scheme.

The stickers will also show the year the hygiene standards were assessed by Intertek's hygiene auditor.

The scheme is optional, but if companies are taking part they are encouraged to display the Food Hygiene Control Mark to advertise that they meet hygiene requirements.

Good food hygiene is good for business.

There are a number of reasons why this might be the case. Here are some examples:

1. The business may not yet be running the scheme
2. Some organisations are gradually rolling out the scheme which means that they will be added following the inspection so more will appear over time
3. There may be an issue with how the search tool works - you could check that you have spelt the name correctly, or it may be that the business is known under a different name, or you could try again and miss out any commas in the address.

Yes, but only if the improvements to hygiene that the food hygiene auditor told the business about at the last audit have been made. This requires 6 weeks to ensure all discrepancies and non-conformities have been closed before the next audit can be planned at the same site.

The scheme acts as a snapshot of the hygiene practices within a food establishment at the time of the last audit. This gives the site manager a risk level so that hygiene practices can be continually improved and also enables the organisation to mitigate the risk of food poisoning.

Yes, it is good for businesses to show their customers how seriously they take food hygiene and Intertek can provide them with the official artwork or business toolkit that they can use, which needs to go through a formal authorisation process. Businesses wishing to gain approval of artwork should contact Intertek by emailing

Organisations should only display or advertise based on the results from Intertek's last visit.

It would depend on the size of your facilities, number of sites and number of staff at each site. Usually it would take between two to four hours.

Yes, we'd be delighted to hear from you.

Send us your details by emailing and an Intertek Food Hygiene Control expert will contact you shortly.

Need help or have a question? +1 800 967 5352

Need help or have a question?

+1 800 967 5352
+49 2166 600745
+44 (0) 116 296 1620
+971 4 317 8777
+91 11 4159 5408

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