All local food businesses will soon be required by law to display their food hygiene rating sticker at their premises.
The current legislation will change from next year after the NI Assembly passed the Food Hygiene Rating Bill.
The Bill will mean that food businesses who sell food directly to the public, and who receive a rating under the statutory Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, will be required by law to display their food hygiene rating sticker at their premises. This includes restaurants, takeaways, mobile caterers, schools, hospitals, residential care homes, delicatessens and supermarkets.
Head of Local Authority Policy and Delivery at the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in Northern Ireland, Michael Jackson said: “We have been working closely with colleagues in the 11 district councils in NI who will be responsible for operating the statutory scheme, with a view to introducing mandatory display in October 2016. District councils will be writing to all food businesses within the scope of the scheme to explain the requirements and how it will work.
“Since the scheme was introduced in NI in 2011, the number of businesses voluntarily displaying their rating sticker has remained relatively low. From October 2016, it will become a legal requirement to display rating stickers and it will be an offence not to display a valid rating.”
He continued: “In the months leading up to the introduction of the statutory scheme, district councils will be working with businesses to help those with a rating of less than 5 improve their level of compliance and to provide new ratings where appropriate, as well as to encourage those with a 5 rating to maintain their very good standards.”
The widespread display of the rating sticker will benefit consumers, giving them an instant indication of a food business’ hygiene standards and it will also be good for businesses as it shows customers just how seriously they take food hygiene.
Most importantly, the mandatory display of ratings will encourage those businesses with poorer ratings to improve their food hygiene standards and strive for a better rating. This, in turn, will reduce the likelihood of food poisoning occurring.
For more information about the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme log on to http://ratings.food.gov.uk