BHA members can now sign up to the BHA’s Catering Primary Authority Scheme with Cornwall Council and it's completely free for members.

Primary Authority enables businesses to form a statutory partnership with one local authority, which then provides robust and reliable advice for other local regulators to follow when carrying out inspections or addressing non-compliance. The aim is to ensure that local regulation is consistent at a national level and sufficiently flexible to address local circumstances.

The new scheme means that BHA member businesses who opt-in and are following the Catering Guide – the definitive guide for the hospitality industry, can be assured that they will be held to one consistent hygiene standard. The guide is recognised by the Food Standards Agency and is included in all BHA membership packages from the 1 October. Furthermore, following the Catering Guide will increase your confidence in achieving a top Food Hygiene Rating.

To help hospitality businesses navigate such pitfalls, the BHA collaborated with the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland to produce the BHA Catering Guide, which is the definitive guide to good food hygiene compliance and good practice. This guide has been assessed and Assured by Cornwall Council, the BHA’s Primary Authority.

An unfavourable environmental health inspection can be incredibly costly. Clearly, if legal action is taken, it could be catastrophic and many businesses have not survived the poor publicity or the fines, which can now be extremely high.

A 20% - 50% drop in trade is common for an establishment that receives a poor Food Hygiene Rating particularly when the local media pick up on the fact. For a small or medium sized establishment, the losses in such circumstances typically run to tens of thousands of pounds. That is in addition to the costs of appealing or paying for a revisit plus any cost of correcting the problems identified.

Unfortunately, the BHA has seen all too many circumstances in which Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) have demanded more of restaurants than may be strictly necessary, blurring the lines between legal requirements and recommendations, sometimes with the result that the restaurant’s food hygiene rating has suffered.

Examples of contradictory advice given by Environmental Health Officers (EHO) and reasons businesses have been marked down include:

* Currently the BHA Primary Authority scheme is only available in England and Wales. Primary Authority Privacy Policy.