The FSA’s Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) – also known as ‘scores on the doors’ – was originally introduced as a voluntary scheme, but has since been made compulsory in Wales, said John Barnes at the Food Manufacture Group's food safety conference at the Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon, Warwickshire last month.
“It is mandatory in Wales, it will be mandatory in Northern Ireland and we will assess to see how that goes with a view to mandation in England,” said Barnes.
‘Will be mandatory’
“The Agency is supportive of this, but the policy at the moment is to see how it beds in on a voluntary basis. We are encouraging display by businesses, particularly those that have got [ratings of] three, four and five.
“Compliance levels are increasing all the time; it is working well in terms of the consumer footfall driving up standards, but we do recognise that mandation would help in that regards. I can’t give you a time-line, but it is something that features in our draft 2015–20 strategy and seems to be going quite well in countries where it is mandated.”
Currently, around 400,000 businesses – primarily retailers and other catering outlets – were making use of the FHRS, but this would rise, said Barnes.
“We want to increase that transparency across all types of food businesses to help in procurement; to help support and promote good, clean businesses – generally businesses with good safety because they are well managed,” he added.