FSA to roll out new hygiene rating scheme

25 August 2010
FSA to roll out new hygiene rating scheme

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is set to launch a new national hygiene rating scheme which it hopes will render the branding associated with the controversial Scores on the Doors system obsolete.

The new Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) closely resembles Scores on the Doors but the star system has been ditched in favour of a number rating from 0 to 5, which the FSA said consumers found easier to understand. The FHRS has already been adopted by about 80 local authorities, including all 22 in Wales.

About half of all local authorities in England and Wales already use a version of the Scores on the Doors scheme, although the way in which the scores are displayed differs throughout the countries, and scores are only available online on individual local authorities' websites.

The FSA hopes that the new scheme, which requires all local authorities to use the same methodology and branding and has a single website for all scores in England and Wales, will make life easier for both businesses and consumers. But it admitted that it cannot force local authorities to move on to the new system.

Despite that, Catriona Stewart, head of the food hygiene ratings team, told Caterer she hoped confusion could be avoided by persuading local authorities to sign up to the new system, with grants available to help pave the way for the new branding.

"We are going to be encouraging as many as possible to move to our system and I think many of them do realise that the benefit is there for their local businesses and local consumers," she said.

Welsh local authorities will be the first to roll out the scheme, on 1 October. Other authorities in the South-west of England, Norfolk, and Norwich City Council are expected to follow shortly afterwards. The FHRS branding cost £37,000 to develop.

FSA ditches stars for son of Scores on the Doors >>

Worrall Thompson slams Scores on the Doors for being bureaucratic >>

Restaurants drop out of calorie count scheme >>

By Neil Gerrard

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