The purpose of the FHRS is to allow consumers to make informed choices about the places where they eat out or shop for food and, through these choices, encourage businesses to improve hygiene standards. The overall aim is to reduce the incidence of food borne illness.
The FHRS incorporates six different food hygiene ratings (from zero to five) and the highest (5) represents a ‘very good’ level of compliance with legal requirements and good practice. All businesses, irrespective of the nature or size of operation, should be able to achieve this. Food hygiene ratings are published online at www.food.gov.uk/ratings and food business operators are encouraged to display them. Displaying the rating will soon be a legal requirement in Wales.
The campaign’s slogan: “Where are you really eating out?” is designed to challenge people’s assumptions that they can use appearance alone as a way of judging hygiene. This is based on the consumer’s perception that poor hygiene is only avoided when lapses are visible. The campaign also encourages consumers to question why certain food businesses achieve lower ratings than they would expect.
Monmouthshire’s cabinet member for environmental health, County Councillor Phil Murphy said: “One of the council’s major functions is the protection of the public and we are pleased to give our backing to the Food Standards Agency campaign.”