It is exactly three years since Wales became the first country in the UK to create a statutory food hygiene rating scheme.
The Food Hygiene Rating (Wales) Act 2013 made it compulsory for all food businesses – such as restaurants, pubs, cafes, takeaways, hotels and supermarkets – to publicly display their food hygiene rating at their premises.
The scheme has proven extremely successful in driving up hygiene standards. Latest figures show that over 94% of food businesses in Wales now have a generally satisfactory rating or higher (3 or above), with 62.5% of Welsh food businesses having the highest 5 rating (Very Good).
In comparison, just prior to the legislation coming into force in November 2013, 87% of Welsh food businesses had a rating of 3 or above and the number of businesses with a 5 rating was 45%.
From today, if a takeaway leaflet or menu shows food for sale, the price and a way of ordering the food without visiting the premises, it will also have to include a bilingual statement encouraging customers to check the food hygiene rating of the business on the food hygiene ratings website. The statement will also remind customers that they have a legal right to ask the food business for their food hygiene rating when they order over the phone.
The legislation also enables food businesses to voluntarily display their valid food hygiene rating on this type of publicity material, but if they do so the rating must be valid and in the specified format so it can be clearly seen.
Minister for Social Services and Public Health, Rebecca Evans, said:
“The food hygiene scheme has been one of the great success stories of made-in-Wales legislation. It has been key to driving up standards in restaurants, pubs, cafes and other food businesses across Wales.
“I am delighted that since the start of the scheme, 7% more food businesses now have a satisfactory rating or higher, and 17.5% more businesses now boast the maximum 5 rating. This progress is something everybody involved in the scheme, including food businesses, should be very proud of.
“The new rules coming into force today are designed to offer extra protection to customers ordering food over the phone, or online, who will not have the opportunity to see the rating physically displayed in the premises before ordering. The display of the statement on leaflets will encourage consumers to view the rating online and to ask the takeaway food business for their food hygiene rating over the phone before ordering.”