The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has launched a 12-week consultation on a nationwide ‘scores on the doors' scheme ranking restaurants on hygiene levels.
The FSA is consulting on two possible schemes: a four-tiered system with three stars and a fail rating; and a three-tiered scheme with "pass", "improvement required" and "fail" ratings.
Once the consultation has closed, the FSA will work with local authorities to finalise and implement the scheme. It is hoping to launch the new system at the beginning of next year.
FSA chair Dame Deirdre Hutton said the scheme is an important step in helping consumers make informed choices.
"Our data shows that the introduction of a single nationwide scheme is clearly supported by all stakeholders and we will work with local authorities and food businesses across the country to put this in place," she said.
The FSA is currently recommending a voluntary approach to the display of scores, which will also be available to consumers via the internet.
Hutton added that at this stage the FSA does not believe advocating a mandatory approach would be in line with the principles of better regulation.
By Kerstin Kühn
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