Trade slams 'confusing' Scores on Doors scheme

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Red tape, Food standards agency, Food safety

BBPA and ALMR slate more red tape for pubs Scheme rolling out from trial to national The trade faces another swathe of red tape and badly-framed...

BBPA and ALMR slate more red tape for pubs

Scheme rolling out from trial to national

The trade faces another swathe of red tape and badly-framed regulation with the prospect of a national Scores on the Doors scheme, according to trade leaders.

Both the BBPA and the ALMR fear the Food Standards Agency (FSA) scheme, which places "tiered" ratings from food hygiene inspections outside pubs, will be misinterpreted by consumers as an indication of food quality rather than hygiene standards.

Martin Rawlings, BBPA director, said: "In a nutshell, it's over-complicated and it gives the wrong messages. Premises are either compliant with legislation or they're not — having a tiered system is bizarre.

"The media and public will mistake stars for quality — we've already seen it in places where the scheme is being trialled. It will also penalise new operators moving into premises with poor ratings."

Nick Bish, chief executive of the ALMR, said: "There's going to be consumer confusion. It's more bureaucracy and it's unnecessary. Like any inspection it's a snapshot in time — it only certifies that the premises was OK or not OK at a given moment."

The scheme is currently in the process of going from a trial to a national rollout. Pubs will be issued a certificate and window sticker with their star rating on.

At present, the FSA is recommending a voluntary approach to displaying the scores. But London Councils, an umbrella group representing the capital's 33 local authorities, is pushing for display to be mandatory, prompting concerns that other councils will follow its lead in the consultation on the workings of the national scheme.

The exact start date of the consultation has not been set but the FSA said it will start this month and run for 12 weeks. Councils across the UK have varied tiered systems for rating food outlets and there are fears that a national scheme will not be consistent.

Rawlings said: "We will absolutely not back a five-tier system but we could just about live with a three-tier system, like the one cur-rently used in Scotland with 'pass', 'improvement re-quired' and 'fail'."

Related topics: Legislation

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