MP Michael Fabricant has called for the compulsory display of Food Hygiene Ratings for restaurants and takeaways within the UK. Currently, the score of any establishment be found on the Food Standards Agency website, but display within the restaurant is at the owner’s discretion. Fabricant urges the Department of Health to follow Wale’s lead and encourage legislation that requires the score to be visible to all customers, “ideally being placed in the restaurant window or door before you enter”.
This will allow customers to make an informed decision taking into account the hygiene standards of where they are eating, as other scores on display (such as TripAdvisor scores) can be misleading and do not relate to food safety. In addition to this, Fabricant is advocating the enforcement of charging the business for a re-assessment of their Food Hygiene Score, as the cost is currently covered by the tax-payer.
What is a Food Hygiene Rating?
Your FHR is a score from 0-5 that indicates how well the business is meeting food hygiene legislation and controlling food safety. 0 indicates “urgent improvement is necessary”, and 5 indicates “very good” food hygiene. The score is given by an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) from the local council.
What do they look for?
The EHO will be looking at:
- How hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored.
- The condition of the structure of the buildings – the cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation, and pest control.
- How the business manages and records what it does to make the food safe.
The scheme is standardised across England and Wales to maintain a consistent assessment of safety standards. Any business should be able to achieve a “5 – very good” rating. Scotland has its own system.
Why is the FHR rating important?
A low FHR can impact the reputation and success of your business – 59% of customers that dine out check the food hygiene score of the establishment and 83% of people would not eat in a restaurant that scored below 3. In turn, a high FHR score can improve the reputation of a business and encourage people to eat there.
A low score will not automatically result in the closure of a business, unless an imminent risk to health is identified. In many cases, a business that has received a low score will be given guidance and advice to make the required improvements.
Food Alert provides guidance in preparing for EHO inspections, and assistance with action points following their visit, to help you achieve the highest Food Hygiene Rating possible. Check out our videos for tips on how to prepare. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org