How to spot a competitor’s fake hygiene rating

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Costly decision: displaying a false hygiene rating is illegal and could cost a business thousands
Costly decision: displaying a false hygiene rating is illegal and could cost a business thousands
Operators who doubt a competitor’s food-hygiene rating is legitimate should report it to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), according to experts.

Intentionally deceiving the public through a false rating is illegal in the UK under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and can result in a fine of £9,000.

Background research

Training provider High Speed Training has outlined top tips on how to avoid being tricked by fake food-hygiene ratings:

  • The FSA. It has a dedicated area for information on ratings and should be the first stop for anyone looking to check a venue’s food hygiene score.
  • Food Hygiene: Know the Score​. High Speed Training has produced a report that aims to uncover food hygiene ratings for 250,000 businesses across the UK to provide an average score from region to region.
  • Scores on the Doors. A website that enables users to search for a venue on a list using filters or on a clear map of the area. It also has a dedicated free-to-download app allowing users to check ratings in seconds.
  • OmgOmg. A website with a detailed map, including pictures and background information on the location to find the hygiene rating of a venue. The social media pages are kept up to date with the latest food hygiene rulings.

If operators complete this background research, they should inform the FSA immediately. Appropriate action can then be taken to ensure potential customers are not misled in the future and relevant fines are fulfilled.

Deceitful practice

Dr Richard Anderson from High Speed Training said: “Showing an incorrect food hygiene rating is incredibly deceitful.

“Those managing establishments that sell food should take pride in adhering to high food-hygiene standards and the respecting ratings that come with it.

“For consumers that have reservations surrounding a fake rating should rest assured that, once flagged, the FSA will take immediate action to rectify the situation.”

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