The national rollout of the Scores on the Doors food hygiene rating system will be delayed until at least the middle of next year.
The six-tier national Scores on the Doors scheme will rate pub kitchens on a scale of 1-6 depending on a hygiene inspection by local authorities. The decision over whether to display results at the premises will be voluntary.
A spokesperson for the FSA said that the two national schemes, one for England, Wales and Northern Ireland and another for Scotland, will not go live before the summer of 2010.
Stocktakers Venners welcomed the decision. "There is nothing to be gained by rushing in the new scheme and everything to be gained by properly educating the trade and the wider general public about the finer merits of the revised scoring process including clarity on how appeals will be handled," said Stuart Knill, head of health and safety services at Venners.
"This is one example where a delay will help the education process that is essential when something of this magnitude is being rolled out. However the trade will demand clarification from the FSA of how the educational programme is to be handled otherwise the delay may prove to be futile."