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Food hygiene rating scheme being used more than ever by consumers

by Sophie Haigh | Aug 15, 2019

Recent statistics published by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) show that the public’s interest in food hygiene ratings has increased considerably, reinforcing the claim by many consumers that displaying certificates should become mandatory in England.

The latest findings from May 2019 show that 66% of consumers now look for hygiene stickers when searching for a premises to eat at, compared to 60% of people in November 2018. Some 85% of participants reported that they are aware of the hygiene standards in places they eat out at or buy food from, whilst the most commonly reported ways of knowing about a food premises’ standards came from food hygiene rating stickers (66%) and the general appearance of the premises (59%).

Currently food businesses in Wales and Northern Ireland are required by law to display their food hygiene ratings at their premises; those in England however are currently under no obligation to do so. It is expected that mandatory displaying will soon come into force in England, especially since food delivery services such as Just Eat recently made food hygiene ratings visible for customers to view on their app when placing orders.  

Whilst the prospect of having to display ratings on a premises can seem trivial to some, the findings demonstrate how not displaying one could potentially result in you losing business. Consumers are increasingly looking to find a good rating when choosing somewhere to eat, whether online or when passing by your business. We are confident that NCASS members are amongst the most diligent and compliant in the industry and adhere to best practice when it comes to food safety; and as such, a move to make the display of hygiene ratings compulsory will be welcome news for many businesses who have worked tirelessly for their 5 rating and want to demonstrate their commitment to customers when it comes to food safety.  

Angela Towers, Head of the Food Hygiene Ratings Team at the FSA said: “The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme gives consumers the information they need to make informed decisions about where they eat out and enables them to vote with their feet. 

‘We are pleased to see continuing increased use of the scheme, which further highlights a need to make the information it provides more accessible in England through mandatory display of hygiene ratings.”

The influx of recent news about food hygiene ratings makes it the perfect time to obtain a five rating for your window display. NCASS members looking to push their rating up to a 5 can begin by ensuring that their Due Diligence folder is up-to-date and that they’ve filled in the risk assessments. The information contained helps caterers to stay compliant with current laws and regulations whilst also maintaining a safe environment for staff and customers, and so it’s important that these documents are regularly updated. Otherwise, our food hygiene training courses are open to members and non-members alike and go from basic level 1 training, through to the more in-depth level 3 for catering business owners and supervisors.

To check food hygiene ratings within the UK, simply head to http://ratings.food.gov.uk/. For further information on our online food hygiene training courses click here, or alternatively, call the NCASS team on 0121 603 2524. 



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