The U.K. Food Standards Agency (FSA) is today launching a national food hygiene rating scheme that will help consumers choose where to eat out or shop for food by providing information about the hygiene standards in restaurants, pubs, cafes, takeaways, hotels, supermarkets, and other places.
You can search for food businesses and their hygiene ratings at food.gov.uk/ratings.
As more local authorities roll out the scheme over the coming months, more ratings will be published online.
The bright green and black food hygiene stickers showing a rating from zero to five will soon be a feature of shopping centres and high streets, as the FSA, in partnership with local authorities, rolls out its Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The aim is to reduce the one million cases of food poisoning suffered by people each year (I prefer the one in Welsh, upper right).
At the top of the scale is ‘5’ – this means the hygiene standards are very good. At the bottom of the scale is ‘0’ – this means urgent improvement is required. A different scheme, with similar aims, is being rolled out by local authorities in Scotland.
Questions remain for the U.K. system: why numbers; is the scoring system based on actual food safety hazards; what research guided FSA in these decisions; will it ever be published? And the color. What’s with the puke green?