New display for food hygiene standards

Customers will be better informed when eating out, thanks to the introduction of a new scheme which tells them about the hygiene standards of food outlets as Harrogate Borough Council announces it will switch to a new way of displaying the hygiene standards of food businesses to consumers.

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) will be run across the district from 1 April 2012.

This national scheme, developed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in partnership with local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, provides information on food hygiene standards to help people choose where to eat out or shop for food. The new scheme will build on the success of the ‘Scores on the Doors’ scheme that Harrogate Borough Council has been running since July 2010.

Councillor Nick Brown, Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Rural Affairs said:

Although we already have a very successful local food hygiene scheme, we have opted to change to the national scheme, as we can see the benefits for local food businesses and the people that eat or shop in them.

Having a single scheme, that is consistent nationwide, means that the rating will have the same significance wherever people are buying food. People will be able to use the information when deciding which food outlets to visit and we hope that food companies will recognise that displaying a good hygiene rating is good for business.

Food outlets, such as restaurants, takeaways and pubs, are inspected by food safety officers from Harrogate Council, to check that their hygiene standards meet legal requirements. The hygiene standards found at these inspections will continue to be rated on a scale ranging from zero at the bottom (which means ‘urgent improvement necessary’) to a top rating of five (‘very good’).

Catriona Stewart, Head of the Food Hygiene Ratings Team at the FSA said:

We recognise the real progress that has been made in improving hygiene standards in food outlets through ‘local’ food hygiene rating schemes. But having a single nationwide scheme will mean a level playing field for businesses across the country, and consumers will be able to recognise and use the ratings in their own area, as well as further from home. So it’s great news that Harrogate Borough Council has announced their intention to switch to the new national scheme’

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