The FSA last week began consultation on a proposal to abolish the UK’s numerous ‘Scores on the Doors’ systems, in favour of a compulsory unitary nationwide scheme.
An estimated 196 local authorities currently use a variety of different schemes, using stars, traffic lights and even tulips to show customers the hygiene rating of a restaurant. The frequency of checks also varies around the UK, so the FSA is now proposing a unitary system, which will avoid confusion over the varying levels of hygiene standards.
Topics under discussion include what business might require a rating, what factors will attribute to that score, and whether businesses should display information on their doors. At this stage, the FSA has announced that they would like to keep the display of scores purely voluntary, although they will be available via a specialised website.
Dame Deidre Hutton, Chair of the FSA, said: “Scores on the doors is an important step in empowering consumers to make informed choices about the food they eat. 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.”
The agency will also be deciding whether a four tiered ‘3 stars and a fail’ rating will be more suitable over Scotland’s current method of ‘pass’ or ‘improvement required’ certificates being issued.
The consultation will last 12 weeks, in which time all interested parties are asked to give their point of view on the matter, with the launch of the nationwide scheme planned for early 2009. Visit www.food.gov.uk/scores for more details and to leave your opinion.