Last updated on 10 May 2012
Research published on voluntary display of hygiene ratings
The Food Standards Agency has published two pieces of research that assessed the level of voluntary display of its food hygiene schemes in the UK.
Independent research was commissioned to assess the level of voluntary display of Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) ratings in England and Northern Ireland, and Food Hygiene Information Scheme (FHIS) ‘Pass’ results in Scotland. Separate ongoing research, part of the wider independent evaluation of the FHRS and FHIS, considered the views of consumers, local authorities and food businesses on the issue of voluntary versus mandatory display.
The research has shown that:
- 43% of businesses in England and 50% in Northern Ireland that had been given an FHRS rating were displaying it
- the higher the rating the more likely a business was to display: 56% of businesses in England and 57% in Northern Ireland rated ‘4’ or ‘5’ displayed, compared with 12% and 22% respectively of those rated '0' to '2'
- 47% of businesses in Scotland were displaying their FHIS ‘Pass’ result
- consumers and local authorities in FHRS/FHIS areas were generally supportive of mandatory display
- businesses tended to be divided, with support for mandatory display expressed by some higher rated businesses
- concerns were raised about mandatory display, such as impact on trade and resources
In 2011, similar research to assess the level of voluntary display of FHRS ratings was carried out on the FSA’s behalf in Wales. This contributed to the Welsh Government’s proposals to introduce legislation for mandatory display of FHRS ratings at food businesses in Wales.
In 2008, the FSA Board decided that display of ratings at premises should initially be voluntary, but that this should be kept under review. A mandatory approach, which would require new legislation, should be considered in future if necessary.
The Board will be reviewing the current voluntary approach to the display of ratings at its meeting on 22 May 2012.