Safety stickers part of FSA food hygiene ratings scheme
Posted by Jason Nicholls.
The owners of restaurants, cafes, hotels and all other food establishments are being encouraged to prominently display safety stickers to give customers more transparency when it comes to their hygiene standards.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) and local authorities are rolling out the voluntary food hygiene ratings scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Venues that serve food will feature bright green and black hygiene stickers, specifically designed to be placed in a prominent position such as a window.
When customers visit a restaurant or pub, for example, they'll be able to look at the sticker to see how it rates.
Stickers will feature scores from zero to five – with zero meaning urgent improvement required, to five meaning hygiene standards are very good.
The ratings will be determined following inspections from local council food safety officers.
In addition, an online database will be set up so customers can search seek out businesses and see how they fare.
The aim of the scheme is to reduce the one million cases of food poisoning suffered by people every year, the FSA said.
"Many people suffer from food poisoning every year, but we shouldn't feel we are gambling with our health when we eat out," Jeff Rooker, chairman of the FSA, said.
"In developing this scheme, we wanted to give people the ability to judge for themselves whether they considered the hygiene standards of a food outlet to be good enough."
A recent survey commissioned by the FSA showed that for 68 per cent of people, the judgment of hygiene standards of places where they eat or buy food is based on the appearance of an establishment.
According to the Independent, some councils are rejecting the scheme, saying it is too expensive to run.
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