Be warned: Displaying of fraudulent food hygiene rating stickers lead to a fine

Published: 20 Sep 2016

As recently reported on the CSC news portal, in Wales it is compulsory to display the food hygiene rating in a prominent place at your establishment. But what happens when you use dishonest tactics to inflate your hygiene rating?....A kebab shop owner recently discovered the extent of the law.

Following a food safety inspection at the Dragon Grill House, Troedyrhiw, in January, Merthyr Tydfil council issued a 1 Star rating when it was found that “major improvements” were necessary due to poor food safety standards. The kebab shop owner decided to display an old sticker indicating a hygiene rating of 5 Stars.

Mahmut Kinili was ultimately fined £590 after failing to pay a fixed penalty, which was originally issued for not displaying the actual low rating.

With the need to display food hygiene ratings in Wales already a legal requirement, proposals for mandatory display everywhere else in Britain are already in process. Once a food premises achieves a 5 star hygiene rating the real challenge is maintaining high food hygiene standards.

In this posting, we revisit top tips to help you maintain or improve your hygiene rating:

Key fundamental areas that the EHO focuses on when conducting food hygiene inspections are as follows:

  1. A managed approach to pest control: The need for an integrated pest management system is of paramount concern in areas where pest activity is rife. It is expected that regular pest control visits by the pest control technician is conducted in conjunction with strict housekeeping protocols where all food sources/food debris are cleared to reduce the likelihood of pest attraction.
  2. Authenticity of due diligence monitoring system:  When it comes to assessing the compliance of the due diligence system, it is key that the required checks (including opening checks, fridge freezer and core cooking) are conducted and documented in the specified time periods.
  3. Prevention of cross contamination: In recent times Local Authority have placed significant focus on prevention of E.coli in commercial food establishments. It is essential that cooked and ready to eat foods are not cross contaminated by raw meat handling protocols.
  4. Levels of personal hygiene: Protocols like hand washing procedures, wearing of clean chefs uniforms and personal hygiene habits are taken into account.

In addition to the above mentioned tips, good levels of cleanliness, evidence of food safety training and a good structural condition of the premises also play a role in ensuring that a good ‘Score On The Door’ rating is achieved.

Often complacency can result in standards dropping in a relatively short period of time. Ensuring that these key tips are upheld should enable you to retain or improve your rating.

If you need help or advice on achieving or maintaining a high food hygiene rating contact us.