The Food Standards Agency has finally approved a six-tier system for a Scores on the Doors scheme for restaurants and businesses serving food to the public in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The decision comes after a lengthy consultation was launched in May to simplify the numerous and confusing hygiene rating systems across the UK, giving consumers a clear indicator as to the cleanliness of the establishment.
Sarah Appleby, head of enforcement at the FSA, said: “Consumers and many local authorities have told us that they support systems that show a range of hygiene standards. We want this scheme to help people to make informed choices about where they eat, be a catalyst for businesses to drive up standards and help make eating out as safe as it can be.`
The FSA has said the scores should be ‘in a prominent position so that consumers can easily see it’, although displaying the scores is voluntary. A specialised steering group will also be set up to ensure the scheme is implemented smoothly, and easy to use for both businesses and customers.
There is no decision on what symbol is to be used in the system, although the majority of respondents to the consultation opposed the use of stars to represent scores. Scotland, it was decided, will continue to use a two-tier pass or improvement system.