Food Law News - UK - 2011

FSA News Item, 1 September 2011

FOOD HYGIENE - Agency announces plan to unify food hygiene rating schemes

The FSA is today setting out its plans to encourage all remaining local authorities in England and Northern Ireland to adopt the Agency’s Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS).

The plans are for:

The FHRS helps people choose where to eat out or shop for food, by giving them information about the hygiene standards in restaurants, pubs, cafés, takeaways, hotels, and so on. Supermarkets and other food shops are also included in the scheme. The scheme is run by local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in partnership with the Food Standards Agency.

There are 163 local authorities already up and running with the FHRS, and many others are preparing to launch it. Discussions with local authorities over the past 18 months have revealed the reasons why some are not yet committed to the Agency’s scheme. These include concerns about potential costs, particularly for re-visits, the IT system used for displaying the ratings, or simply a desire to remain with well-established local schemes.

The measures announced today aim to address the concerns of the local authorities that have not yet signed up to the FHRS, and encourage them to adopt the scheme voluntarily and ahead of the Olympics next year.

In addition to the FHRS, there is another similar scheme currently in operation, known as ‘scores on the doors’. Transparency Data publishes hygiene scores for the 125 local authorities who use the Scores on the Doors scheme. The FSA has reached agreement with Transparency Data to acquire the existing Scores on the Doors contracts and software, and to work with the firm to encourage remaining local authorities to transfer to the FHRS. The agreement will enable the Agency to move towards publishing ratings in a single format for thousands more businesses across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Tim Smith, Chief Executive of the Food Standards Agency, said: ‘The FHRS is all about putting the consumer first, supplying people with useful information on which to base their choice of which café, restaurant or shop to go to. When we launched the FHRS in November 2010, we expressed our strong commitment to achieving a single hygiene rating scheme across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. With a single scheme, consumers know that from Penzance to Preston, Belfast to Brecon, the same criteria have been used to rate premises. These latest measures bring us closer to providing readily accessible ratings for consumers and consistency for businesses, and will ultimately drive up hygiene standards.’

Paul Hiscoe of Transparency Data, said: ‘Local authorities have for a long time recognised that the optimum solution is a single national scheme backed by the FSA, building upon the practical experience embodied in the software from We are delighted to be part of this new partnership, which will mean the UK will now become the world leader in this area, to the benefit of all food consumers.’

All local authorities in Wales are now running the FHRS. A different scheme, with similar aims, is being rolled out by local authorities in Scotland.

To go to main Foodlaw-Reading Index page, click here.