Food hygiene ratings: how they work
Nowadays customers arekeenerthan ever before to learn just how hygienic their favourite restaurants and takeaways really are.Across Britain anyone can checka food business’ official hygiene rating online if that business has been assessed by the local authority.
Ratings for eateries and vendors in England, Wales or Northern Irelandcan be found on the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) dedicatedratings website, while Scottish businesses’ ratings are available on the Food Standards Scotland site.
With their hygiene levelsnow on display for all to see, many food businesses have found either fame or shame in the regional press.
In September theSomerset Live news site published a full list of hygiene ratings forall 96 kebab shopsin and around the county, while Gloucestershire Live posted another list with every local food business—including takeaways—that won top marks with a score of 5 out of 5.
As kebabs make up an integral part of the British diet, it should come as no surprise that this new focus on food hygiene ratingsis hugely important to thefuture success of the UK Kebab Industry too.
If you want to know more about official food hygiene criteria so you can improve or maintain your business’ rating, please read on!
The FSA rates businesses from 5 to 0. Welsh and Northern Irish businesses are required to display their hygiene ratings by law. In England and Scotland however, this is voluntary.
Ratings in England, Wales and Northern Ireland vary from5 for“very goodhygiene standards,” 4 for “good,” 3 for “satisfactory,” 2 for “some improvement necessary,” 1 for “major improvement necessary” and 0 for “urgent improvement required.”
In Scotland the equivalent Food Hygiene Information Scheme hastwo main ratings, either “Pass” or “Improvement Required.” Scottish businesses that go above and beyond the legal minimum standard to gain a “Pass” and strive for excellent food hygiene standards can also win a prestigious Eat Safe Award.
According to the FSA website, “Ratings are a snapshot of the standards of food hygiene found at the time of inspection. It is the responsibility of the business to comply with food hygiene law at all times.”
Inspectionsare carried out by a food safety officer from the local authority who checks that a business follows food hygiene regulations to ensure that its products are safe to eat.
Inspectorsbase their judgements on three elements while on a visit.
The FSA says these are:
- how hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored
- the physical condition of the business –including cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation, pest control and other facilities
- how the business manages ways of keeping food safe, looking at processes, training and systems to ensure good hygiene is maintained. The officer can then assess the level of confidence in standards being maintained in the future
If a business owner feels they have been unfairly treated by the local authority after an inspection, they can request a re-inspection, appeal a verdict, or publish a response to their rating.
BritShish believe that positive hygiene ratings are crucial to shaping how the Kebab Industry is perceived by the public. We call on all kebab business owners to do their utmost to ensure that they keep their hygiene standards at the very highest levels.