fsa food hygiene rating

The FSA has insisted it “remains committed” to introducing mandatory display of hygiene ratings for food businesses in England as part of its wider overhaul of UK food regulation.

The food safety watchdog yesterday published a new science report by its chief scientific officer Guy Poppy, who assessed the impact of the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) on food safety.

He found there had been a “continuous improvement” in food hygiene standards since the scheme was first introduced in 2011, with 67% of businesses achieving a top score of ‘5 - very good’, while 95% achieved a rating of ‘3 - generally satisfactory’ or better this year.

In Wales, businesses with a rating of 5 have gone up by 21 percentage points

The FHRS had helped drive up compliance with food safety laws, he concluded, with a higher number of compliant businesses in areas where local authorities were operating the scheme.

Higher scores were also associated with a significantly lower risk of foodborne illness, his research suggested.

“This progress has been good to see,” said Poppy. “I am particularly encouraged that our research has linked higher ratings to lower levels of microbes found in food businesses, ultimately lowering the risk to consumers from foodborne illness.”

With evidence suggesting the introduction of mandatory display of food hygiene ratings in Wales and Northern Ireland had driven “improved and sustained” food safety compliance by the businesses, the FSA remained committed to establishing similar rules in England, he said.

“We have sound evidence of the difference that mandatory display makes. People vote with their feet, because it’s easy to choose food outlets that are taking food hygiene seriously,” Poppy added.

“The plans for seeking approval from ministers are being aligned with the FSA’s Regulating Our Future programme, which is redesigning how food businesses are regulated. As hygiene ratings are based on inspections, this will ensure that we have a robust and credible scheme that continues to deliver benefits for consumers.”