Once again, the importance of professional kitchen deep-cleaning services has been highlighted in the most unfortunate of ways.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that in this day and age, official food hygiene star ratings would be a national standard and indeed a legal requirement for all restaurants and eateries. But you’d also be mistaken, as while such stars are displayed with pride on the door of every food outlet in Wales, the same cannot be said for the rest of the UK.
The trouble is that without this kind of publicised information and no national standard to go by, the public simply assumes that any restaurant up and running must be getting things done right. In reality however, no less than 358 restaurants in the capital alone are operating with ZERO ratings from the Food Standards Agency.
And as they aren’t required to broadcast this information to the world, they’re hardly likely to do so.
Contrary to popular belief, being slapped with a low rating doesn’t necessarily lead to the immediate closure of the restaurant in question. Instead, this only happens when the place is deemed a genuine threat to public health, though even in such instances there’s still a 14-day period in which the rating can be appealed.
The system has been deemed by critics as both unnecessarily complicated and misleading – the fact that it is not a legal requirement to display Food Standards Agency ratings being borderline bizarre.
However, it’s looking like all of this is about to change in the near future, as calls intensify for a radical and yet entirely common-sense shift in the way the system works. Inspections are to continue being carried out on a random basis, but soon enough it will be a nationwide requirement to display official Food Standards Agency prominently, for customers to consider before even entering the premises.
Suffice to say, the days of turning a blind eye to intensive cleaning duties are headed the way of the dinosaurs.
“Mandatory display of food hygiene ratings offers additional benefits for consumers and those businesses that have good hygiene standards and further encourages other businesses to raise their standards,” commented a Food Standards Agency spokesman when interviewed by ITV News.
“We are pleased that there is already mandatory display in Wales and also pleased that the Northern Ireland Assembly is considering legislation that will make it mandatory for businesses there too.”
“We favour mandatory display in England and have started to build the case for this and the Government will consider this evidence once available.”