Restaurants and pubs in London will not have to display compulsory food hygiene ratings after the trade groups BHA and BBPA won a legal battle against the proposal.
Although the system is voluntary, FSA encouraged local authorities to adopt it, prompting the London Boroughs to present a Bill that proposed compulsory hygiene rating displays in London venues.
However, the British Hospitality Association (BHA) and the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) petitioned in a Commons Committee against the Bill, arguing that it was too early to require compulsory ratings since FSA was still testing the scheme.
FSA plans to carry out a national review of the system in April 2012, which will look at whether the voluntary approach has worked or, if not, whether the display of ratings should be made mandatory at national level.
Burdens of legislation
“We were concerned that, if the Bill had been successful, there would be special regulations for London which did not apply nationally,” said Martin Couchman, BHA’s deputy chief executive, who led the BHA’s petition.
“Any decision on compulsory display should only be made after the review.”
Martin Rawlings, BBPA director (pub and leisure), said that the result was a victory for common sense and small businesses
“The burdens of legislation would have been hugely significant. We do however remain in full support of the FSA’s voluntary scheme – which provides a positive incentive – rather than further red tape.’
The FHRS rates a foodservice business’s hygiene standard from zero to five, and aims to become a single, nationwide scheme that will provide a level playing field for restaurateurs, cafes and pubs and help diners recognise and understand their rating.