As the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) turns ten, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has written to local authorities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland thanking them for their hard work in making the scheme a success.
The FSA said that since the FHRS was introduced it has driven up hygiene standards in food businesses across the three nations. Currently 96% – or 377,000 – of businesses rated have a 3 rating or above, with 76% – or 286,000 – holding a top rating of 5.
SSA research found that outbreaks of foodborne illness are twice as likely at businesses with ratings below 3 proving that the scheme was “ultimately benefiting consumers”.
The letter was signed by board chair Heather Hancock, and CEO Emily Miles, who said they were very proud that earlier this year the FHRS was named as one of the top 20 public health achievements of the 21st century by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH). The RSPH list included achievements such as the public ban on smoking, traffic light labelling on food and the sugar levy.
Hancock and Miles wrote to local authorities on 30 November asking them to bring the letter to the “attention of all relevant officers”. They wrote: “We wanted to take this opportunity to thank you and your teams as it is your hard work and dedication that lies behind this achievement and that has gone into making the FHRS such a success. Local authorities are absolutely essential to the delivery of the scheme.
“The scheme was developed to empower the public to make informed choices about where to buy and eat food, and, a decade on, has driven up standards in food businesses... Your essential work means that people can now vote with their feet or by a click of a mouse and choose those businesses that take food hygiene seriously.”
They added: “It has been an extremely difficult year for you as you have tackled the pandemic and its consequences with fewer resources and greater pressure. These are extraordinary times, which have shown the very best of the public sector at the local level.
“Thank you again for all your hard work and support.”