South Derbyshire District Council has confirmed that they are considering making changes to how food hygiene rating stickers are displayed.
The rating system ranks restaurants and takeaways throughout the county and across the country and provides a rating out of five, with five being the highest, and a sticker detailing their score to be displayed to their customers.
This ranking does not rate the quality of the food offered at the business, but how well the people who run it are sticking to guidelines in terms of food hygiene.
Stuart Batchelor, director of community and planning at South Derbyshire District Council, raised the issue at the quarterly neighbourhood meeting for the Linton area, held at Walton town hall.
Mr Batchelor explained that restaurants and food outlets seem to only display the stickers given to them if they have received a good rating.
He said: “We are looking into the green stickers that you get in restaurants and takeaways. If they have a really good rating, a five, then you will always see it when you walk into the shop.
“If you can’t see it that probably means they having a rating of one or two and they don’t want people to know. So we are considering a policy about publicising the result of those ratings in the future.
“It’s clearly information that we need to make obvious to the public so they can decide what they want to do.”
According to Mr Batchelor, he and South Derbyshire District Council want to create a new policy which will see a uniform position or a certain place where they want the stickers to be displayed in the shops regardless of the rating to give customers a fair chance to make their decision on where or where not to eat.
How does the food hygiene rating work?
The food hygiene rating system is there to help customers make an informed decision where to eat by letting them know how clean places are with their food preparation and storage.
From restaurants and cafés, to hotels and pubs – anywhere that offers prepared meals will be inspected by local authorities, like South Derbyshire District Council.
Ratings are given to anywhere a customer can eat food, whether that be a sit-down meal or taking the food away and even places where you can buy food like supermarkets and bakeries.
The council organises when inspectors visit each food outlet to check if they meet food safety standards. During an inspection, the officer will look at how food is handled, prepared, cooked and stored.
The condition of the building is also assessed, in terms of cleanliness, layout and ventilation. The steps that business owners take to make sure food is kept clean is also looked at and is included in the rating.
Each factor is then added together and a final rating is decided by the inspectors from zero to five stars. If a premises is rated zero, this implies that the location needs urgent improvement while five indicates that the hygiene standards are very good.
The main decision for the final rating comes from whether the food could be a risk to people’s health and the issues it could cause. The broad scale is available because some categories are considered more important than others, so those who score highly in all three are likely to receive a five, but those failing in all could receive a zero.
If a business receives a lower rating than they are more likely to receive follow-up inspections sooner than those who score highly.