FSA in Scotland
Last updated on 18 May 2009
Post-project recommendation from the Steering Group for the Food Hygiene Information Scheme
The report representing the recommendations of the Steering Group on the operation of the Food Hygiene Information Scheme (FHIS) based on experience gained during the pilot has been published.
The FHIS is intended to be simple for consumers to understand and simple for local authorities to apply. The 'Pass' standard is set to represent a single level of compliance that is satisfactory in terms of consumer expectations and also as an enforcement outcome. Establishments are assessed during programmed inspection and the scheme does not therefore require separate inspection scheduling. It is designed to simply reflect the local authority's most up to date information and to fit existing procedures under the Food Law Code of Practice.
The two outcomes of compliance assessment under the scheme are 'Pass' or 'Improvement Required' (failure to achieve a Pass). The designation 'Pass' should provide reassurance that the establishment has been inspected for food hygiene by the local authority and meets legal requirements. The 'Pass' standard essentially represents a situation where the local authority does not consider it necessary to revisit the establishment for enforcement purposes until the next programmed intervention. In particular, a 'Pass' is incompatible with the existence of even minor recurring contraventions notified at successive visits. Any establishment falling below the required standard for a 'Pass' is classified as 'Improvement Required'.
Establishments that have registered under hygiene legislation but have not yet been inspected are entitled to an 'Awaiting Inspection' certificate.
The scheme applies to all catering and retail operations but allows for exemptions in prescribed circumstances where both the local authority and the food business operator agree.
The scheme includes the following measures to ensure that it is fair to businesses:
- procedures for appeal against an officer's judgement
- procedures for requesting reassessment where compliance has been achieved
Mechanisms for appeal should not need to go beyond existing procedures required under the Framework Agreement on Local Authority Food Law Enforcement.
Experience during the pilot project found that the procedures for reassessment did not result in a significant burden to local authorities.
This guidance provides details on key definitions and requirements of the scheme as well as suggested practice based on experience gained during the pilot project.
The FHIS is entirely compatible with the EATsafe award scheme and local authorities are encouraged to continue their promotion of the award as a voluntary scheme that allows food businesses to demonstrate excellence in hygiene beyond the scope of legal compliance.
The full report is available at the link below.