Food businesses must register with the Council before they can operate and are inspected to ensure they are following safe procedures.
The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme - important changes
The Food Hygiene Rating (Wales) Act 2013 and associated regulations come into force in November 2013. The Act establishes a mandatory food hygiene rating scheme for Wales that will replace the scheme currently operated by local authorities and the Food Standards Agency. The new scheme is designed to help consumers choose where to eat out or shop for food by providing information about the hygiene standards in restaurants, pubs, cafés, takeaways, hotels etc, as well as supermarkets and other food shops.
As a food business operator you will need to be aware of some important changes, introduced by the legislation, which are summarised in this leaflet: Food hygiene is getting easier to spot in Wales (new window)
How does the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme work?
Flintshire County Council is implementing the scheme in accordance with the requirements of the Food Hygiene Rating (Wales) Act 2013. This mandatory scheme has been developed by Welsh Government in collaboration with the Food Standards Agency and local authorities. It is based on the non-statutory scheme which has operated since October 2010 and the basis of the rating remains unchanged. It will provide information about the hygiene standards in food premises at the time they are inspected by one of our food safety officers to check that they are meeting legal requirements on food hygiene. The hygiene rating given reflects what the officer finds at the time.
Find out what the ratings mean, what is inspected and more on the Food Standards Agency website (new window).
Where will the food hygiene rating be displayed?
Find a food premises rating online (new window)
Businesses are given a sticker showing their rating and those who receive a ‘new’ rating sticker that includes the Welsh Government logo from 28 November will have to display it in a prominent place – such as the front door or window – and at all customer entrances and provide information on their rating verbally if asked.
The local authority has powers if you fail to display your sticker, display an incorrect sticker or mislead customers in relation to the food hygiene rating. This may be through the use of fixed penalty notices. A fixed penalty notice will offer the opportunity for a person to pay a penalty of £200 within a period of 28 days, from the day that the penalty notice is given, or a reduced penalty of £150 if payment is made within 14 days. The Food Hygiene Rating (Wales) Act also allows for prosecution where necessary through Magistrates Court.
What can businesses do to improve if they need to?
Where a business does not achieve the top rating, the food safety officer will explain to the person that owns or manages the business what improvements are needed.
In order to ensure that the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is fair to businesses, it has been designed to include a number of safeguards:
You can appeal against a rating if you believe it does not accurately reflect the hygiene conditions at the time of the officer’s inspection, or that the rating criteria were not correctly applied. This appeal must be made, in writing, on the standard appeal form to the local authority within 21 days from the date that you receive the notification of rating. The appeal will be considered by an officer from the authority, who was not involved in the original assessment of the food hygiene rating being appealed. The local authority must decide the appeal and notify you of the outcome within 21 days of receiving the appeal. If you do make an appeal you will need to display the relevant sticker after the appeal has been decided.
FHRS Appeals Form (PDF 67KB new window)
You can ask the local authority for a visit to be carried out before the date of the next food hygiene inspection so improvements can be checked and a new rating given if appropriate. Your request must be made in writing, on the standard revisit request form and you must provide information on the improvements that have been made to the hygiene standards. You must continue to display your current rating sticker as required, at the time when making the request for a re-rating, until you have been notified of the outcome of the re-rating visit. The re-rating revisit will take place within three months of the request being made by the business, and you will not be informed in advance of the specific date and time of the visit. Although it is anticipated that most re-rating revisits will lead to an improved rating it is possible for a lower rating to be given if standards have otherwise fallen. There will be a charge for the re-rating visit, further details of the costs will be provided by the local authority prior to inspection.
FHRS Re-rating Form (PDF 68KB new window)
Right to Reply
Businesses have a “Right to Reply”. The Right to Reply allows a food business operator to comment on the rating given to the business. For example, a business may wish to publish information in relation to what they consider to be particular circumstances at the time of the inspection that affected the rating. These comments must be made in writing to the local authority using the standard Right to Reply form. The form should be forwarded to the local authority who will forward to the FSA who may publish the comments on the Agency’s website, along with the rating.
FHRS Reply Form (PDF 65KB new window)
Flintshire County Council,
Food Safety Section,
Tel: 01352 703386