Food premises should have to display hygiene ratings, councils say

Updated: 

All food premises in England should be forced to display "Scores on the Doors" ratings following Brexit to improve hygiene standards, councils have said.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said current EU laws regulating food safety should be kept after Brexit but it has called for the Government to use the opportunity to strengthen them and make the display of hygiene ratings mandatory in England.

Council environmental health teams score food outlets from zero to five based on factors such as kitchen cleanliness, cooking methods and food management.

(PA)
(PA)

Businesses in Wales and Northern Ireland are legally required to display their rating but this is not the case in England, where those scoring low marks are less likely to put them on show to customers.

The LGA said businesses including restaurants, pubs, cafes, takeaways, sandwich shops, supermarkets and delicatessens that fail to comply should be fined or prosecuted.

Simon Blackburn, chairman of the LGA's Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: "The conversion of EU law as part of Brexit will impact on many council services that affect people's day-to-day lives, including how to protect people from being served unsafe food.

"The post-Brexit review of EU laws gives the Government choices. We believe that food hygiene laws need to be strengthened, where necessary, with Scores on the Doors ratings being a good area of opportunity to do this.

"With mandatory hygiene rating display already in force in Wales and Northern Ireland, the UK leaving the EU provides a crucial opportunity to toughen up food safety laws by extending the legislation to England as well.

"Food hygiene standards and compliance levels have risen since the scheme was introduced in Wales."

.@CllrSBlackburn due on BBC Breakfast today to call for display of food hygiene ratings to be compulsory in England #localgov

-- LGANews (@LGANews) September 9, 2017

The LGA said councils had seen "shocking" examples of poor or dangerous hygiene, and always took action to improve standards at rogue food premises.

Mr Blackburn added: "Making the display of hygiene ratings compulsory in England is good for business.

"Not only would it incentivise food outlets to improve or maintain high hygiene standards - which would reduce the risk of illness for customers - it would also improve consumer confidence and save taxpayers' money by reducing the need for, and cost of, enforcement action by councils."