One simple hygiene rating for all to display

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Related tags: Food hygiene, Food standards agency, Hygiene, Wales

All food businesses - including both foodservice outlets and manufacturers - will eventually be expected to have a food hygiene rating, which will be made available to the general public for scrutiny.

In a discussion about plans to publish redacted versions of meat hygiene audit reports at last month's Food Standards Agency (FSA) Board meeting in Cardiff, the Agency's director of communications Terence Collis announced that it was the FSA's ambition to make such information widely available to consumers.

"We do need simple food hygiene ratings for every single business,"​ said Collis. Other members of the Board, including chairman of the Welsh Food Advisory Committee, John Spence, supported this view.

The FSA's voluntary Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) is being rolled out by local authorities in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. Scotland operates a different Food Hygiene Information Scheme, in which either a 'pass' or 'improvement required' is indicated.

Under the FHRS, cafes and restaurants display their hygiene scores on stickers or certificates, which rate the premises between 0, where urgent improvements are deemed necessary, to 5, indicating hygiene is 'very good'. In total, 165 local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are publishing more than 120,000 ratings.

From next month the FSA plans to start publishing versions of meat hygiene audits of primary meat processing plants, such as abattoirs and cutting plants, edited to remove commercially sensitive information. This will be an interim measure prior to making this information available in a simpler, more easily understood, format next April. Meat hygiene audits are only available to the public through Freedom of Information requests.

Related topics: Food Safety

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