Local authorities in England can now charge restaurants for food hygiene rating reinspections, a move hoped to help speed up the process.
The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has been campaigning for the policy change, which is already in effect in Wales and Northern Ireland.
The BHA has claimed restaurants have previously had to wait months, and in some cases years, to be reinspected, but can now pay local authorities to revisit as soon as improvement work has been done.
The cost will depend on each local authority on a cost recovery basis.
A Food Standards Agency (FSA) spokesperson said: "We recently changed our policy to allow local authorities to charge a fee for reinspections requested by food businesses to reassess their Food Hygiene Rating. This is to help local authorities carry out these reinspections in a timely manner. The decision to charge on a cost recovery basis, and the calculation of the costs, is for each local authority. This brings the scheme in England in line with Wales and Northern Ireland where a charge is already made for this service."
Dr Lisa Ackerley, food safety advisor at the British Hospitality Association, said: "The BHA has been campaigning for timely revisits and better consistency of rating and a fairer appeals process. We welcome the change in policy which should help hundreds of our members and other restaurants. As the Food Hygiene Ratings Scheme is becoming very popular with consumers to inform choice the BHA believe it must be fair."
Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, added: "This is example of how our hard working and expert team, led by Dr Lisa Ackerley aka the hygiene doctor, can get results."
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