Walsall Council is proud to operate the National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme: This scheme provides consumers with information about hygiene standards in food businesses, enabling them to make informed choices about where they eat out or shop for food.
The council's Environmental Health team carries out regular unannounced inspections at around 3,500 food businesses throughout the borough. From April 2011, following inspection each business is given a rating ranging from “poor” to “very good.” The ratings will be based on information gained during a food hygiene inspection and will cover a number of areas including:
- Food preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage
- Structure and condition of the premises including cleanliness, lighting and ventilation
- Response to tackling issues raised at previous inspections
Food businesses will be given a window sticker to display in the premises; displaying the hygiene rating. The rating is also published on a national website. An example of a window sticker is below;
In August 2012 the Food Standards Agency introduced a phone app making it easier to check hygiene scores; this is available for several phone operating systems and is available free from app stores.
Poor food hygiene means a poor rating, which is bad for business. The Environmental Health team are keen to work with businesses to help them improve their hygiene scores: The Food Standards Agency has a range of tools designed to help manage food hygiene in businesses. Check these out at www.food.gov.uk/goodbusiness.
Safeguards: Appeal, Right to Reply and Request for Revisit
There are a number of safeguards to ensure that the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is fair to businesses: These are an appeal procedure, a 'right to reply' and an opportunity to request a re-visit when improvements have been made.