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More food hygiene ratings to be seen

Food-Hygiene-Rating-Toast-Cafe-Bar-Grill-Restaurant-BlackpoolWHEN people buy their food, they want to be sure that the place they’re buying from follows good food hygiene practices.
After all, those businesses that aren’t hygienic put consumers’ health at risk, from minor cases of food poisoning to more serious, even fatal, illness.
That’s why, from November this year, a new law introduced by the Welsh Government will mean that businesses in Wales that serve or sell food will be required to display their food hygiene rating at their premises.
The scheme will cover places where people eat out, including restaurants, takeaways, mobile caterers, cafés, hotels and pubs; places where people shop for food, such as supermarkets, bakeries and delicatessens; and establishments such as schools, hospitals, children’s nurseries and residential care homes.
The statutory scheme introduced by the legislation will be based on the current voluntary Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, operated by local authorities in partnership with the Food Standards Agency (FSA)
Food outlets will be rated from 0-5 on criteria such as how the food is prepared, cooked and stored and the condition of the premises and how food safety within the business is managed. A 5 rating means hygiene standards are very good and 0 means urgent improvement is necessary.
Good food hygiene is important to consumers and food businesses too and the new scheme will benefit both consumers and food businesses.
For consumers, the rating will mean they are able to make informed decisions about where they choose to eat or shop for food.
For businesses, good food hygiene means a good hygiene rating. This could increase trade, as well as meeting food law requirements and protecting their customers from foodborne illness. Every business is capable of achieving a rating of 5 and food businesses that comply with food hygiene requirements have nothing to fear from the new law.
More than 23,000 food businesses in Wales have already received a rating under the voluntary scheme, and many have improved their rating following advice from their local authority food safety officer.
Under the current voluntary scheme, however, businesses do not have to display their rating sticker if they do not wish to do so, meaning the information is not always readily available for the consumer as they enter the business.
The new law in Wales will mean that food businesses will have to display their rating in a prominent place – such as the front door or window – and at every entrance.
The business operator and relevant staff will also have to provide the information verbally if asked, either in a face to face situation as well as over the phone.
Local authority officers will enforce the statutory scheme in their area and ensure ratings are correctly displayed and should be contacted by businesses which need advice on the display of stickers and how the legislation will apply to them.
Local authorities will issue new stickers from the end of November and businesses will be required to display these.
As well being displayed at businesses’ premises, ratings will also continue to be available on the FSA website at food.gov.uk/ratings
From November 2014, the scheme will be extended to include food manufacturers, wholesalers and transporters that supply to places where people eat and buy food.
The new scheme will put Wales at the forefront of promoting the standards of food hygiene – this has to be good for consumers and good for business, too.