ACS public affairs director Shane Brennan has given evidence to the Welsh Assembly, urging them to abandon plans for a compulsory food hygiene rating scheme. 

The plans, which could cost Welsh retailers around £225,000 a year, would require all food businesses to display their food hygiene rating at the front of their premises and also require all Welsh Local Authorities to adopt a new Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, replacing the current voluntary scheme conducted by the Food Standards Agency. The mandatory scheme would also include cost recovery measures for re-rating.

In a submission made earlier this year, ACS recommended that new regulations should only be introduced in cases where there is a clear risk to customers or where the outcomes justify the additional burden on retailers.

Brennan said: “The introduction of a mandatory food hygiene rating scheme would introduce disproportionate burdens on retailers. The Food Standards Agency currently have an effective voluntary scheme which all 22 Welsh Local Authorities participate in, and all ratings are already available to the public on the FSA website. 

“The current scheme is a positive voluntary initiative that incentivises retailers to do better, the Welsh Assembly proposal is to impose a statutory scheme that is focused on penalising those that are below prescribed standards. This shift in emphasis is unnecessary and will undermine the emerging positive relationship between retailers and enforcement authorities.”