Further detail on the following rules is available in the Safe to Trade® Standard and Protocol


  • The Safe to Trade® Independent Governance Board reserve the right to reconsider the status of or remove any business or location from the public Safe to Trade® register at any time.

Audit, non-conformances and certification

  • Safe to Trade® approved status is applied by location. It is your responsibility to ensure that all locations within your business are registered separately.
  • If a non-conformance is so serious the FBO must voluntarily close, the audit will be aborted and the details of what was audited up until that point will available in the audit report. The FBO will be removed from the scheme and will need to purchase a new audit if they wish to re-enrol. The FBO must produce an action plan to remedy the non-conformances and the action plan should include the FBO making contact with their local Authority to confirm that they have voluntary closed and removed the imminent risk associated with the non-conformance.
  • Evidence for non-conformances that are a requirement of the standard must be submitted before the certification body will review the evidence provided. Evidence must be suitable and sufficient.
  • The approved status of the location on the Safe to Trade® register is valid for one year and three months from the date of the audit.
  • From year 2 onwards the location must be at register status ‘Approved’ for the yearly audit to proceed. The yearly audit will occur between the audit anniversary and certificate expiry date.
  • It is a condition of Safe to Trade® that food business operators allow Safe to Trade® access to their premises for surveillance audits. Surveillance audits will not be charged. Non-conformances identified must be addressed in accordance with the audit certification process.
  • FBOs must notify if they receive a Food Hygiene Rating Scheme score of 0,1 or 2 in England, Northern Ireland and Wales, or a Food Hygiene Information Scheme Fail in Scotland.

The register

  • Food businesses with register status ‘Awaiting Assessment’, ‘Improvement Required’ or ‘Approved’ are publicly visible. If a food business has their register status set to ‘Removed’ the record is hidden from public view and the regulator is informed. Safe to Trade® do not share data that is not publicly available. FBOs and regulators may wish to share data from the Safe to Trade® scheme and to do this, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between all parties needs to be created and agreed.
  • If the Safe to Trade® Independent Governance Board downgrade the location to register status “Improvement Required’ and request a re-audit, you must purchase this within 7 days of notification or you may be removed from the Safe to Trade® register.

Table of register statuses



Awaiting Assessment

  • Registered for the scheme awaiting audit

Improvement Required

  • Standard Requirements not met
  • Persistent justified low consumer feedback ratings
  • Customer complaints indicating unacceptable practice
  • Food business operator subject to significant enforcement action
  • Food Hygiene Rating Scheme score of 0, 1 or 2 in England, Northern Ireland and Wales
  • Food Hygiene Information Scheme Fail in Scotland


  • Standard Requirements met and no reason for downgrade or removal

Removed (and inform regulator)

  • Audit outcome - voluntary closure non-conformances identified
  • Status ‘Improvement Required’ or ‘Awaiting Assessment’ for nine months or longer
  • Certificate expired
  • No access
  • FBO brought scheme into disrepute
  • Incorrect use of Safe to Trade® certificate, sticker or digital media

Safe to Trade brand guidelines

  • Certificates, stickers, and digital media must not be replicated or copied and remain the property of the certification body and must be surrendered in the event the FBO leaves the scheme.
  • FBOs with the status ‘Improvement Required’ or ‘Removed’ must not use or display the certificate, sticker or display the Safe to Trade® logo on any material or documentation.
  • FBOs must notify the certification body in writing of any change of legal constitution, trading, addresses or other significant particulars. Where the FBO remains substantially the same, the certification body may at its discretion grant a transfer of register status. Where, in the opinion of the certification body, the changes are significant, a new application will be required. This decision will be at the sole discretion of the certification body.