Bakery retailers could be forced to display their Food Hygiene Rating, as the Food Standards Agency (FSA) sets out its long-term goal for the scheme.
During a recent board meeting, the FSA asked members to agree that a mandatory approach to the display of ratings/inspection results would increase the potential to improve public health.
This was based on the grounds that mandatory display would strenghten both the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the Food Hygiene Information Scheme (FHIS) in Scotland.
The Welsh Assembly has already taken the first step towards mandatory display, after it introduced its Food Hygiene Rating (Wales) Bill, this week.
The FSA has an ongoing campaign to involve all local authorities (LAs), with around 300 signed up so far. This equates to 79% of local authorities in the three countries. However, in England, 57% of these results are not displayed by the food businesses. Sixty-nine per cent of businesses do not display their results in Wales, 54% in Scotland, and 50% in Northern Ireland.
A spokesperson for the FSA said that there was no target date set for the implementation of mandatory display, as firstly the FSA would require all LAs to be on board with the scheme.
The FSA said it was anticipated that 97% of LAs would have adopted the scheme by the end of 2012. It would then carry out a detailed Impact Assessment. “Mandatory display would also require a change in legislation, which could take time,” she added.