New research supports mandatory display of hygiene ratings
Research published by the Food Standards Agency shows that in Wales only 6% of food businesses audited with a low rating of 0, 1 or 2 under the Food Hygiene Rating scheme are actually displaying the ratings in their premises, compared with 66% of those businesses which received a rating of 5.
Non display of a rating sticker means consumers are unable to use the sticker to assess the food hygiene standards of the business as they enter the premises. However, where a business has decided to display its rating, then 77% of those were very easy to find when visited by a ‘mystery shopper’.
Steve Wearne, Director of the Food Standards Agency in Wales, commented, ‘Since its launch just over a year ago, the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme has increased the availability of information to consumers on the hygiene standards of food businesses when they choose to eat out or shop for food. This research has revealed that even when they have a good rating, not all food businesses in Wales are choosing to display the information. As they enter the business, consumers currently don’t always have the information available to them to make an informed choice.’
The FSA is working with the Welsh Government on making mandatory the display of food hygiene ratings at food businesses in Wales. Restaurants and takeaways could face a maximum £1,000 fine if they fail to display their score under the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, which was previously known as Scores on the Doors.
The scheme could come into force by 2014 if it is approved.