London councils team up to show 'scores on the doors'

Related tags Food hygiene rating Food standards agency London

Pubs across London are to be asked to display a food hygiene rating after 28 of the capital's councils teamed up to launch a 'scores on the doors'...

Pubs across London are to be asked to display a food hygiene rating after 28 of the capital's councils teamed up to launch a 'scores on the doors' programme.

Backed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), the Chartered Insititute of Environmental Health (CIEH) and the Greater London Assembly, there are also moves to make the star rating a legal requirement in London.

Pubs and other food businesses will be issued with a certificate and window sticker displaying a rating from zero to five stars, based on the most recent food hygiene inspection report.

Consumers will also be able to look up the star ratings via a website, www.yourlondon.gov.uk/foodscores

The project brings together a number existing schemes in London. With other cities undertaking similar trials, the scheme marks a significant step towards making it compulsory for businesses to display food hygiene scores.

The FSA hopes to develop a national scheme to counter arguments from the hospitality trade that the various scores on the doors schemes in operation around the UK use different criteria, so do not help consumers to make objective choices about where to eat.

Cllr Daniel Moylan chairman of London Councils' Transport and Environment Committee, said: "Tourists and Londoners deserve to know if the food they are served in one of the capital's many food outlets was prepared in a safe and clean environment.

"This is why we are supporting the FSA pilot - as well as campaigning for the scheme to be made compulsory as part of proposals for the 10th London Local Authorities Bill.

"A London-wide scores on the doors scheme will help drive up hygiene standards across the capital.

"Visitors and residents will be armed with clear information about an outlet's hygiene standards - and can then make a clear and informed choice on where to eat."

Bob Cotton, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association (BHA), said it was "disappointing" that London has pressed ahead at a time when the FSA and BHA are still reviewing the impact of existing schemes.

"We believe the boroughs should have waited for the outcome of that review process," he said. "In particular, we believe stars are confusing when there is already a star rating system for hotels in place.

"What is a consumer supposed to make of a business with a two or three star rating? Is it clean or not? In our view, a business is either clean and fit for purpose, or it isn't - in which case it should be closed down."

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