The body that represents councils in England, The Local Government Association (LGA), is pressing for England to follow Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in making it compulsory for food businesses to display their Food Hygiene Rating (FHR).
In England, currently only businesses with good ratings tend to display the green and black FHR sticker (provided by the Local Authority) in a prominent place.
Despite there currently being no legal requirement to display a FHR in England, public awareness of the scheme has been steadily rising.
This means a good score can be worn like a badge of honour, while a bad score is enoThe Localugh to scare away potential customers. Despite many establishments with a low score (2 or lower) refusing to display the sticker, the public can still view the rating of any business by using the FSA website.
After display was made mandatory in Wales, data from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) demonstrated a rapid increase in food hygiene standards. The scheme created enough incentive for establishments with a low rating to quickly improve their standards. In comparison the English establishments that scored below an acceptable level simply did not display their rating.
The sticker gives the consumer the power to make an informed choice before entering an establishment. It’s a simple system designed to motivate food establishments to adhere to the best food hygiene practices. Similar mandatory schemes in the US and Canada have coincided with a decline in reported cases of food poisoning.
"Mandatory display is part of the FSA's plans for a new model of regulation but implementation will require legislation," a spokesman said.
"We want to bring the food hygiene rating scheme in England in line with Wales and Northern Ireland, where the benefits of more visible ratings have already been felt."
We will keep you updated on developments.