Local council to impose individual hygiene ratings

Pendle Council proposes a scheme under which every food business will be given a hygiene rating. From supermarkets to hotels and from Sandwich shops to restaurants will be required to undergo a hygiene standards assessment, according to which they will receive their ratings.

The proposed scheme aims to give consumers the knowledge required to make informed decision regarding what and where they eat. Consumers will be able to see the hygiene rating on the business’s premise, or alternatively they can view it online.

‘The aim is to give consumers impartial, consistent information and subsequently confidence in what and where they eat,’ said Councilor Christ Tennant. ‘It is also useful for food businesses to have a consistent and transparent measure to gauge their hygiene standards. This will expose the potential areas of improvement, and encourage businesses to carry out such improvements.’

Tennant added, ‘The scheme will also create a healthy competition between businesses, which will benefit not only the consumer, but also the businesses themselves. They know a better rating will bring in more customers.’

Almost 50% of the UK councils implement different hygiene rating schemes. Studies show that such schemes are effective. However, those schemes are restricted by council boundaries, as customers are unable to accurately compare ratings across councils, according to Philip Mousdale the council’s executive director of community and citizen services.

Mousdale believes that the introduction of a single UK-wide scheme will ensure consistency and less confusion.

“Consumers will be able to take better informed decision about what they eat in Lancashire because most councils are committed to applying the national scheme.”

Businesses will get one of six hygiene ratings, under the national scheme, and the results will be published on a designated national website.