Northern Ireland food retailers forced to display hygiene ratings

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 10th October 2016

Cafés, restaurants, supermarkets and other food retailers located in Northern Ireland now must display a hygiene ratings sticker showing patrons just how hygienic their business really is.

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, which has been voluntary in Northern Ireland since 2011, is now compulsory with food retailers forced to display their rating after a local council inspection is performed.

The rating is a score out of five with zero meaning urgent improvements are necessary and five being the establishment has very good standards.

Restaurants, pubs, cafes, takeaways, supermarkets, hospitals, care homes, schools and any other business which sell food must display their rating.

Major step forward in providing hygiene information

Head of Local Authority Policy and Delivery at the Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland, Michael Jackson, said this was a major step forward in providing people with hygiene information.

“Any food business should be able to achieve and maintain a 5 rating as it only requires compliance with hygiene requirements set down in law,” Jackson said.

“We know that display of stickers has been low in the voluntary scheme, but with this new legislation people will soon be able to check the rating by looking for the sticker and choose somewhere that has a rating of 3 or above. If you can’t see the sticker, then ask the staff. Under the Act staff must tell you the rating if asked,” he stated.

The sticker must be located in a place it can be easily spotted before the consumer enters to purchase food.

Compulsory ratings displays are already mandatory in Wales whilst it is voluntary in England. Research has shown that since the mandatory system was introduced in Wales there has been an increased positive impact on hygiene standards as compared to England.