The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) was introduced in 2010 and, since then, there has been a significant improvement in food safety compliance and food hygiene standards in the hospitality and catering sectors.
A recent report by Professor Guy Poppy, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Food Standards Agency (FSA), states that the level of food hygiene standards has improved since the introduction of the scheme.
This is good news for consumers – as an improvement in food hygiene across so many food businesses ultimately results in fewer cases of foodborne illness.
Since the rating scheme was introduced seven years ago, the public have been able to make more informed decisions about where they eat. Over 430,000 food hygiene ratings are published at www.food.gov.uk/ratings . This means that consumers can easily check ratings before they choose to eat out or purchase food.
In Wales and Northern Ireland, food businesses are legally required to display their food hygiene ratings. Evidence indicates that mandatory display results in improved standards and sustained food safety compliance, in the longer term, by many businesses.
Consumers would now like to see the mandatory display of food hygiene ratings across England and the FSA has committed to building on the success of the FHRS and work towards introducing mandatory display for England in the future.
Peter Christopher-Ohrt, Managing Director Technical Services, Food Alert Ltd, comments: “The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme has helped to improve standards of food safety considerably. However, the proposed mandatory display of a business’ rating could have a catastrophic effect on a poorly performing food businesses.”
“For instance, if a restaurant has a rating below two, it could seriously deter customers, leading to substantial financial loss. To counter this the Food Standards Agency has recently amended the scheme so a food business can pay for their local authorities to re-visit, but this could take up to three months, by which time the business may have had to stop trading.”
Peter continues: “To help our clients achieve the highest food hygiene rating, we offer an extensive range of food safety support services, including providing personalised food safety management systems, critical control point monitoring diaries, audits and food hygiene classroom and online training.”
“Our assistance helps reduce the likelihood of a poor food hygiene, food poisoning incidents and formal action by the Environmental Health Officer.”