The Food Standards Agency (FSA) launched their Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) back in October 2010. Hackney and Birmingham are two of the latest borough councils to come on board with the system, and nationally 93% of councils are running it.
Some of us in the office are quite obsessive about checking out the places we go to eat, but what we want to know is how many of you do the same?
How Does the FHRS work?
When Food Safety Officers, from the Local Authority, visit Food Premises (restaurants, pubs, cafes, takeaways, hotels etc) they give a rating, from 0-5 based on:
1) how hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored
2) the condition of the structure of the buildings – the cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities
3) how the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe
When you eat out or shop for food, you might see a sticker in the window or on the door, or a certificate on display, showing you the hygiene rating for that business. Businesses are encouraged to display these stickers and certificates at their premises in a place where you can easily see them when you visit, but there is no legal requirement for them to do so. It is good marketing, if they’ve got a good rating, so if it’s not on display you have to ask why it’s not!
If you’re planning to go out you can search the FSA’s website and check the scores of any potential venues.