There have been a few instances of false representation and misleading the public when displaying food hygiene ratings as one restaurant owner from Walsall, Derby found out when he marketed his Indian restaurant, Moza Derby, to have a rating of five when it only had a one rating and later zero.
Rushan Ahmed was prosecuted and fined for this by Derby City Council in 2016.
On 28 June 2018 a disqualification order was made by District Judge John Preston Musgrave at Birmingham County Court against Ahmed for five years.
He was also ordered to pay costs of £4,231.62 and from 19 July 2018, was forbidden directly or indirectly to be involved, without the permission of the court, in the promotion, formation or management of a company.
Dave Elliott of the insolvency service said: ‘A zero food hygiene rating should have rung alarm bells for Rushan Ahmed and forced him to get his house in order. But he decided to publish a bogus 5-star hygiene rating designed to draw in business by making a false representation for commercial gain.'
Back in 2015 Ahmed took out three adverts in a local magazine, where he claimed his restaurant had a five-star food hygiene rating.
However, the restaurant had been given a one-star rating following a visit from Derby City Council Food Safety Inspectors in February 2015. When no improvements were made, that rating was revoked to a zero star in July of the same year.
Derby City Council’s trading standards team took Ahmed to court in April 2016, where he pleaded guilty to the charge that the company engaged in unfair commercial practices. The company was fined £3,171 and Ahmed received a personal fine of £1,271.
Matthew Holmes, deputy leader and cabinet member for regeneration and public protection said: ‘The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme serves two important purposes.'
‘The first is to help consumers choose where to eat out or shop for food by giving information about the hygiene standards in restaurants, pubs, cafés, takeaways, hotels and other places you eat, as well as supermarkets and other food shops.'
‘The second is to encourage businesses to work hard to improve hygiene standards and promote greater food safety.
‘This case shows that we will take action to protect consumers and the integrity of the scheme where businesses seek to gain an unfair advantage by misleadingly and claiming a higher rating.’
It is important to remember that you need to ensure that the rating you are displaying, advertising, featuring on your website etc is the current rating issued at your most recent inspection.
For further advice contact the CSC team