A recent survey of food safety in takeaways and sandwich shops in Nottinghamshire has revealed that a quarter are unsatisfactory following Environmental Health visits.
Food businesses are awarded a food hygiene rating which may range may range from 0 indicating the need for urgent improvement to 5 where standards are deemed to be very good. Prominent display of the current rating is mandatory in Wales and Northern Ireland, and it is likely this will be also become a requirement in England and Scotland soon.
At present, many restaurants, pubs, takeaways and other food outlets proudly display their 5 rating in their front window, and customers can be confident that their meal will be safe to eat. In England, those businesses not maintaining good standards may not display their rating in the hope this will not be noticed by customers. This is set to change, as the ‘name and shame’ philosophy has been proven to drive up standards in Wales. Soon all food businesses in England will be required to display their certificate, regardless of the rating.
Current food hygiene ratings are displayed on Local Authority websites and on the ‘Scores on the Doors’ website, which is endorsed by the Food Standards Agency. The press monitor these and frequently name local businesses which show poor standards.
Poor scores and associated publicity can ruin a business. Business owners can ensure the achievement and maintenance of a 5 rating by ensuring all aspects of their operation meet legal standards and best practice, and their team are up to date in food safety training.