The Food Standards Agency has reported a flurry of activity by the local authorities across England which has resulted in the milestone of more than 250 local authorities joining this food hygiene rating scheme. It is expected that coverage will be 97% across England, Wales and Northern Ireland before the end of 2012.

What is the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme?

It is a scheme run by the local authorities in conjunction with the Food Standards Agency. Each food business is given a rating from 5 to 0, where 5 represents excellent food hygiene standards and 0 indicates that urgent improvements are required.

Who is it useful for?

It is intended to provide a guide to consumers as to the food hygiene status of the food establishment. It is also of paramount importance to the food industry, particularly the hotel, catering, food-service and conferencing sector (where catering is provided). It helps senior management of these establishments to understand whether they have adopted good food hygiene management practices and, we feel, is a crucial extra selling point. Imagine for instance a major hotel chain courting the conferencing business of a large blue chip multinational business. Such businesses need to mitigate risk and they will look at this aspect of risk.

How can I get a good rating?

You can get a good rating partly with plain old common sense and partly by implementing the good HACCP based codes of practice such as Codex Alimentarius, the Food Safety Agency Safer Food Better Business Guide and the myriad of advice available from the Food Standards Agency and others. In brief: Manage your housekeeping, waste control, food room layout and maintenance, food storage controls – such as secure storage, stock rotation and temperature, cooking and cooling temperature controls, cleaning and staff training….and you are half way there!

External Hygiene Audits

We also fundamentally believe that regular external hygiene audits can provide an extremely useful summary of controls that are working well and areas for improvement, by priority, both to mitigate your risk to your customers…and yes to help you on the way to achieving and maintaining that crucial score of 5 in the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. Call us to find out more and to see if a programme of hygiene audits can help your catering or food service facilities.

BRC Global Standards Issue 6 Guidance – Part 6 – Site Standards BRC Global Standards Issue 6 Guidance – Part 7 – Product Control