Food Hygiene Information Scheme in Scotland

food hygiene information scheme

Scottish consumers can see how well food businesses in their area have fared in their last food hygiene inspection. Search for hygiene inspection results in Scotland at www.food.gov.uk/ratings

The Food Hygiene Information Scheme effectively 'opens the door' to the kitchen and/or food areas. This helps to increase consumer confidence and help people make informed choices about where they eat or buy their food.

The scheme applies to all food outlets that supply food to consumers. Each food outlet is asked to display a certificate on the door or window of their premises, saying whether they have passed their hygiene inspection or whether improvement is required.

An independent interim evaluation commissioned by the Food Standards Agency has been carried out on the Food Hygiene Information Scheme. The full report which arose from this research can be found by following the link at the bottom of this page.

What information will I see?

The scheme is designed to give straightforward information about how each food outlet fared at its last food hygiene inspection carried out by its local authority. The inspection outcome applies to a business trading at a particular address, so that a change of business operator at a given address will require a fresh assessment.

Pass A 'Pass' indicates that the business broadly met the legal requirements. These requirements include the conditions found and the management procedures in place for providing safe food.

Improvement Required Where a business has failed to meet these requirements it will be issued with an 'Improvement Required' certificate.

Exempt Premises A very small number of premises may be registered as food businesses in circumstances where it is unlikely that customers will view them as food premises. The assessment for such premises will have concluded that the food safety risk is negligible.

In such cases (and only with the agreement of the business), a certificate will not be issued and the information on the local authority website indicates that the business is currently exempt from the food hygiene information scheme.

Awaiting inspection Where a business has not yet been inspected, it will be issued with a temporary certificate advising consumers of that fact. This will appear as 'Awaiting Inspection' on the website. Premises will also require to be re-inspected where they have changed ownership.

The local authority websites are intended to reflect the situation 'on the ground' so that consumers can use whichever source of information is more convenient.

If you come across any information that does not appear to be correct (eg, a business that has ceased or started trading) then you will find contact details for the local authority on their websites.

The Eat safe award scheme being run in Scotland will continue to offer catering businesses the opportunity to be recognised for achievement of standards beyond compliance.

Who is backing the scheme?

It was developed by the Food Standards Agency Scotland, consumer organisations, industry and local authorities.

Consumer Focus Scotland (formerly The Scottish Consumer Council) has been actively campaigning for a food hygiene information scheme, and has been fully engaged in the development of the scheme in Scotland. Its research clearly shows people want to know how hygienic their local takeaway or restaurant is.

Consumer Focus Scotland believe that this scheme will help drive up hygiene standards, people will be able to make informed choices and therefore be able to eat out in confidence. The scheme will also benefit consumers by ensuring that a very high proportion of businesses continue to comply with the law.

How many food businesses are taking part?

Almost 45,000 establishments are taking part in the scheme in Scotland. Food outlets have been asked to display certificates prominently on the door or window of their premises, showing how well they did in their last hygiene inspection. These numbers are set to increase as more local authorities start up their schemes.

Why has it been launched?

The Scottish Consumer Attitudes to Food Survey 2005 showed that many people were concerned about hygiene in food outlets. Discussions with stakeholders and local authorities and the consultation responses prompted the Agency to start developing Scores on the Doors schemes to meet local needs across the UK.

How do I get more information

For more information about the scheme please contact Pauline Wilkinson:

tel: 01224 285174
email: pauline.wilkinson@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk

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