There has been a recent study carried out by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to determine the level of voluntary display of food hygiene ratings in England and Northern Ireland.
The research showed that
- 43% of businesses in England and 50% in Northern Ireland that had been given an Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) rating were displaying it
- the higher the rating the more likely a business was to display: 56% of businesses in England and 57% in Northern Ireland rated ‘4’ or ‘5’ displayed, compared with 12% and 22% respectively of those rated '0' to '2'
- 47% of businesses in Scotland were displaying their Food Hygiene Information Scheme (FHIS) ‘Pass’ result
- consumers and local authorities in FHRS/FHIS areas were generally supportive of mandatory display
- businesses tended to be divided, with support for mandatory display expressed by some higher rated businesses
- concerns were raised about mandatory display, such as impact on trade and resources
It is important to note that in 2011, similar research was carried out on the FSA’s behalf in Wales, the results of which contributed to the Welsh Government’s proposals to introduce legislation for mandatory display of FHRS ratings at food businesses in Wales.
The Food Hygiene (Wales) Bill, which is currently awaiting approval, will make it compulsory for food businesses in Wales to display their food hygiene rating in a prominent position that can easily be seen by customers.
With this in mind, it is likely that there will be a move towards a mandatory display of ratings in England and Northern Ireland over the coming months and so it is important that when you have your EHO inspections, every effort is made to achieve the highest score possible. Within the FSA’s scheme, there is an appeal process should the Food Business Operator (FBO) feel that the rating is unfair or wrong. There is also an option to request a re-visit before the next planned inspection but only if the improvements that the EHO told the business about at the last inspection have been made.
Information about the appeal process and requesting a re-visit can be found at http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/webpage/faqsen
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