The Scottish arm of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) will launch a "scores on the doors" scheme next week, publicising for the first time how well food operators fare in their hygiene inspections.
About 3,000 premises in Perth, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Fife and Renfrewshire will take part in the pilot Food Hygiene Information Scheme.
Properties will be required to display certificates on their doors or windows, showing how well they did in their last hygiene inspections. The certificates will state whether a premises has "passed" its inspection or whether there is "improvement required". New premises will be able to display a sign that states "awaiting inspection".
George Paterson, director of FSA Scotland, said the scheme was designed to give consumers peace of mind in an easily accessible manner and allow them to make informed choices about the premises they ate in or bought food from. "Many people are concerned about hygiene in food outlets. It makes sense for businesses to put customers and food hygiene at the top of their agenda," he said.
Julia Clarke, spokeswoman for consumer group Which? in Scotland, said: "This new pilot scheme will help drive up hygiene standards. People will be able to make informed choices and will therefore be able to eat out in confidence without risking their health."
The FSA hopes the two-year pilot scheme, which will be trialled across London next April followed by other English cities, will eventually be rolled out UK-wide.
Several UK local authorities have already developed their own schemes using different rating systems, but the FSA hopes a unified star rating system will encourage businesses to improve standards.
By Emily Manson
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