Food Standards Agency rolls out new hygiene rating scheme

A national food hygiene rating scheme, which will inform consumers where to shop for food by giving information about hygiene standards, has been launched by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Butchers will be expected to put bright green and black food hygiene stickers, showing a rating from zero to five, on their window or inside wall as the FSA, in partnership with local authorities, rolls out its Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The aim is to reduce the one million cases of food poisoning suffered by people each year.

Food businesses and their hygiene ratings will then be put online by the FSA at food.gov.uk/ratings.

FSA chair Jeff Rooker said: “Many people suffer from food poisoning every year, but we shouldn’t feel we are gambling with our health when we eat out. 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. If customers are looking for a hygiene rating, this will drive businesses to improve their standards.”

The FSA added that the stickers will show how good the hygiene standards are at places where you can eat or buy food.

Following inspections by local council food safety officers, the hygiene standards are rated on a scale. At the top of the scale is ‘5’ – this indicates the hygiene standards are very good. At the bottom of the scale is ‘0’ – this means urgent improvement is required. A different scheme, with similar aims, is being rolled out by local authorities in Scotland.

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