Should takeaways be forced to display food hygiene ratings?

First launched in 2008 as a result of a growing concern over the lack of uniformity across food safety grading systems, the Food Standards Agency’s Food Hygiene Rating Scheme has since been rolled out nationwide, with thousands of eateries choosing to display the FSA’s rating in their premises. This has given consumers greater confidence when choosing a place to eat out at or order from — making it easier to decide upon the restaurant, takeaway or café that’s right for their individual needs.

Unless you live in Wales, however, it isn’t yet a legal requirement for food venders — including restaurants, bars, cafes and takeaways — to display the FSA’s rating on their premises for the public to consult. While most consumers remain happy enough to eat out at a place that doesn’t display the FSA’s rating, a growing awareness of the scheme among diners could see a significant drop in footfall at venues which neglect to present their FHRS score on their door.

Not only that, but a growing concern over the food safety standards of restaurants not displaying the FHRS rating has lead to calls for it to become a legal requirement in England and Scotland, where eateries are currently not obligated to display any food safety certification.

At the very start of 2016, Birmingham City Council’s food safety chief, Barbara Dring, urged the Government to make it compulsory for food vendors to display Food Standards Agency ratings — largely for the benefit of the businesses themselves, which could face missing out on custom by not displaying their ratings.

As reported in the Birmingham Mail, Dring believes forcing eateries to display their ratings will encourage the minority of restaurants and takeaways with a 1 or 2 rating to up their game and offer a better service to customers. She said: “There are more than 7,500 food businesses in Birmingham and we want to them not only to be compliant with food law, but we want to encourage them to be better.

“One way to do this would be if it were a legal requirement to display their food business rating on their front door as they do in Wales. Currently the Food Standards Agency’s scores on the doors system is voluntary — there’s no incentive or compulsion for premises rated 0 or 1 to display their latest rating, so I want to see the Government make this a legal requirement for all food businesses.

“This would give consumers more knowledge about food premises and enable them to make better informed decisions on where to go for a meal or get a takeaway from – which would in turn encourage businesses to be more compliant.”

At Shieldyourself, we believe displaying signage which informs consumers of a given establishment’s food safety credentials ought to be made a mandatory requirement. Not only will this afford the public increased awareness of the safety of the food they’re consuming, it will give poor-scoring vendors more initiative and drive to secure a high FHRS rating and achieve full food safety compliance.

If your business is struggling to secure a respectable score on the doors, our team of expert food hygiene specialists can help you up your game and attain a rating to be proud of. To find out more about how we can help your business succeed, visit the Shieldyourself homepage or call us on 020 3797 2311.

The information contained in this blog article has been created for marketing purposes and is not official guidance and should not be used as a substitute for official food safety, health and safety or fire safety advice. Shieldyourself take no responsibility if the information in the blog article is used to form part of a safety management system or used to form part of any legal or regulatory compliance for your business. For official guidance and to engage with Shieldyourself services please do call our team on 020 3740 3744 or email

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Mark Flanagan

Blogs, Food Safety

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