Food Safety: Display Food Hygiene Ratings by law?

| 26 August, 2011 | 08:32


As more councils roll out the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, Jill Taylor calls for legislation requiring ratings to be displayed.

More than 160 local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are now publishing nearly 120,000 ratings at www.food.gov.uk/ratings.

Related Posts

Since July the following councils have joined the scheme:

  • Eastbourne Borough Council
  • South Bucks District Council
  • Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Bury Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Manchester City Council
  • Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Salford City Council
  • Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Ipswich Borough Council
  • Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council

Other local authorities will be rolling out the scheme over the next few months.

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is run by local authorities in partnership with the FSA. It aims to helps people choose where to eat out or shop for food by giving them information about the hygiene standards in restaurants, pubs, cafés, takeaways, hotels and other places they eat, as well as in supermarkets and other food shops.

In areas where the scheme is running, each food business is given a food hygiene rating on a scale from 0 to 5 when it is inspected by a local authority food safety officer. The top rating is ‘5’ – this means the hygiene standards are very good. The bottom is ‘0’ – this means urgent improvement is required.

When when a business is rated a sticker, like the one in the feature image, may be displayed showing the food hygiene rating for that business. The sticker may be found displayed in the window, on the door, or as a certificate.

Local authorities can choose to publish ratings, however, there is currently no consistent process. Jill Taylor of Jill Taylor Consulting recently commented on this in her recent blog post:

“Currently local authorities can choose to publish inspection ratings so they are available to the public – the big problem is that not all local authorities choose to do this, and for the ones that do there are several different websites where results can be published so unless you are a bit of a super-sleuth (or a food safety specialist) you stand little or no chance of actually finding the venue you are looking for.

Some authorities request that food businesses display their ratings on their premises so the public can see them, most do not. Some publish clear details about how scores or ratings are achieved, some publish nothing.

To some authorities a rating of 2 stars would mean a deal of improvement is required – to others a 2 is “OK” – quite frankly the whole system is a mess.

I live on the border of three local authorities and if I’m searching for a local restaurant within a 3-4 mile radius I have to look up 3 different websites, with 3 totally different grading schemes and none require that premises display their ratings. I will look them up, because it’s my job, but I don’t imagine that many other people have the patience to do so.”

(Read full article here)

Jill has launch an e-petition calling for the legislation to make it compulsory for businesses that handle food to display Food Safety Ratings. If you would like to support this e-petition follow this link.

What is your opinion? Leave a comment below.

Tags: , ,

Category: Food Safety

About the Author ()

I qualified as an Environmental Health Practitioner (EHP) 1999. Between 1999 and 2003 I worked in Local Authority Private Sector Housing Departments as an Environmental Health Practitioner where I specialised in housing. I started working as a Housing Consultant in 2001 and left Local Government in 2003. I have a BSc Hons in Environmental Health and a PG Dip in Housing. I am currently studying a PG Dip in Surveying. I am a member of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and a Student Member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

Comments are closed.