Councils make plea for mandatory FHRS

Local authorities are urging ministers to make display of Food Hygiene Rating System (FHRS) scores mandatory, as the last English council holding out against the scheme finally signs up.

Birmingham City Council recently voted to ask the minister to make display compulsory.

Speaking to the authority’s cabinet committee, Nick Lowe, food safety team operations manager, referred to the Welsh Assembly choosing to implement compulsory display in the wake of the 2005 E. coli outbreak in Bridgend that resulted in the death of a five-year-old boy.

‘Outside of Wales, our evidence suggests that businesses that get below a three really don’t display their ratings,’ he said.

‘We feel that now is the time for us to follow the lead from Wales and to introduce mandatory legislation to display the stickers actually in the windows.’

He added the move would also reward businesses with a ‘five’ rating and help to improve standards.

Councillor Neil Eustace said it was ‘ridiculous’ that poorly managed food businesses did not have to display their score.

The motion was passed unanimously.

Leicester City Council’s head of regulatory services, Roman Leszczyszyn, said it was the authority’s ‘long-standing view’ that FHRS scores should be displayed.

He told EHN: ‘Whilst our councillors believe FHRS on the web is useful to some customers there are many people who don’t have access at all or can’t access the information when they are making their decisions.

‘We are in the process of drafting and signing off a letter to George Eustice MP, minister of state for farming, food and the marine environment.’

Last month Rutland County Council councillors voted to join the FHRS scheme. The authority was the only one in England, Wales and Northern Ireland that had refused to take it up since its inception in 2008.

The Food Standards Agency has indicated it is looking tomake FHRS compulsory, a move backed by the CIEH.

A Rutland County Council said that ‘this would likely go hand-in-hand with a compulsory requirement for businesses to display their rating at the premise’.

Ref: http://www.ehn-online.com/news

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