Wales’ statutory food hygiene rating scheme extended

Wales’ food hygiene rating scheme is being extended to trade-to-trade businesses, such as food manufacturers and wholesale providers who sell food to other businesses, Deputy Health Minister Vaughan Gething has announced.

The statutory scheme, which is the first in the UK, was introduced in Wales in November 2013.

The Food Hygiene Rating (Wales) Act 2013 makes it a legal requirement for food businesses which sell food directly to consumers – restaurants, pubs, cafes, takeaways and hotels, as well as supermarkets – to display food hygiene ratings.

Under the extension, which came into force on the first anniversary of the Act, trade-to-trade food businesses which are inspected by local authorities from November 28, 2014 will be given a food hygiene rating for the first time. They will also be issued with a sticker showing their rating, which must be displayed on their premises.

The business and their employees must also tell their customers, if asked, the rating they have received. This applies in a face-to-face situation as well as over the phone.

Failure to display the food hygiene rating sticker could result in enforcement action through the use of a fixed penalty notice or a prosecution.

Mr Gething said:

“The food hygiene rating scheme is proving to be a great success. Today, I am confirming that we have extended the scheme further to include food manufacturers and wholesale providers who do not sell food directly to the public.

“This is an important step, which will provide added assurance to businesses and consumers.”

The introduction of the Act a year ago has had a positive impact on food hygiene standards in Wales. More than 50% of food businesses in Wales have achieved a five rating, which means “very good” and the number of food businesses with a less than satisfactory rating is falling.

More than 92% of food businesses in Wales have a generally satisfactory rating or higher.

Mr Gething added:

“The requirement for businesses to display their food hygiene stickers is having the effect we envisaged in driving up food hygiene ratings.

“I’m delighted to see the numbers of food businesses with a lower rating decreasing. This is good for the people in Wales and for food businesses in Wales.

“I acknowledge the significant work that local authorities have put into this scheme to make it a success against a background of tighter budgets and fewer resources.”