The government should not make it compulsory for hospitality businesses in England to display their Food Hygiene Rating Scheme scores, says the British Hospitality Association, because the system being applied is inconsistent and too few members of the public understand the six point ratings.
The BHA’s statement follows on from the BBCs Inside Out’s investigation of food hygiene ratings in London restaurants which aired Monday 6th January 2014, and the call made by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health to make mandatory ratings displayed on the doors of eateries.
Said Martin Couchman, deputy chief executive of the BHA: “There are still problems with consistency under the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. For example, only 4% of hospitality and retail food businesses in Belfast are rated as ‘requiring improvement’ but 17% of those in Cardiff, yet it is the same scheme. If the flaws haven’t been ironed out, then it is wrong to make any display compulsory. The other concern is that customers don’t yet understand the system and without proper understanding, mistakes and misconception can take hold. For example a hospitality business with low initial scores could find it difficult to win back customers even once it had made significant improvements in its scores. The BHA would prefer the FSA in Wales, Northern Ireland and England to operate the Scottish scheme which requires businesses to be simply given a ‘pass’ or ‘improvement required’. We believe this system is more straightforward and easier to understand.”