A report published Feb. 28 by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) on the implementation and operation of the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme in Wales reveals that consumer recognition of the Scheme has continued to rise, from 43% in 2012 to 89% in 2017.
This report, the first of the required three-year reviews, shows that 84% of food businesses are displaying their food hygiene rating. This is compared to just 21% in 2012. It also reveals that 65% of food businesses now have the highest food rating of 5 which is “very good”.
Food hygiene ratings must be displayed at all entrances to food establishments in Wales. Ratings are available to consumers on the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA’s) website. In addition, takeaway businesses are required to provide information on certain publicity materials directing consumers to ratings on the website.
The report presents an overview of the operation of the statutory Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS), the duties exercised by the Welsh Government, FSA and local authorities to support and deliver the Scheme, and the engagement with food businesses and consumers that has taken place. It also provides an update on action taken to address the recommendations of previous reports.
Further recommendations regarding the ongoing implementation and operation of the Scheme are identified in the report. For example, improving the availability of online ratings accessed via mobile phones or tablets.
Richard Bowen, Interim Director of the FSA in Wales said:
“With the support of the FSA, local authorities in Wales have worked together to achieve consistency in the application of food hygiene ratings. This has helped ensure transparency, fairness and a level playing field for businesses wherever their location in Wales.
“This report shows that, overall, food businesses have improved their food hygiene standards. The number of food businesses in Wales with the highest food hygiene rating is at an all-time high which is essential to help reduce the risks to consumers from foodborne illnesses.”
Cabinet Secretary for Health, Vaughan Gething commented:
“The introduction of a statutory Food Hygiene Rating Scheme has been a big success story for Wales, helping to drive up food hygiene standards in restaurants, pubs, cafes and other food businesses right across the country.
“The Scheme has provided important information for consumers when deciding where to eat out or buy food and it’s encouraging to see that more consumers are recognising the ratings on the doors. This has, in turn, played a significant role in encouraging businesses to improve their food hygiene standards.
“I would like to thank local authorities in Wales for all their hard work in making this Scheme a success.”
Mark Elliott, Chair of the Directors of Public Protection Wales added:
“The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is an excellent example of collaboration, making a huge difference to improving health and wellbeing in Wales. Local authorities support the scheme wholeheartedly as it drives up food hygiene standards through a consistent and fair approach, which is welcomed by businesses.”
Full report available here.