Fringe Box



New Food Hygiene Rating Scheme Goes Live

Published on: 16 Jun, 2012
Updated on: 18 Jun, 2012

A new national scheme which tells residents and visitors to Guildford the hygiene standards of almost 800 local food outlets is now available. But one local coffee shop manager reports that the rating shown for his cafe is 18 months out of date.

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is operated in partnership with the Food Standards Agency and replaces the ‘Scores on the Doors’ system, which has been operating since 2007.

Each food business has a rating from zero to five – zero means urgent improvement is needed, and five that hygiene standards are very good. More than 50 per cent of outlets in Guildford have a top rating.

To mark the launch of the scheme, over 20 top-performing local businesses were awarded with their 5-rating certificate by the Mayor of Guildford, Cllr Jennifer Jordan at the Guildhall.

Cllr Stephen Mansbridge, Deputy Leader of the Council and Lead Councillor for Stronger Communities and Services, says: “We have seen a measurable improvement in food hygiene standards in catering premises across the borough since the launch of our Scores on the Doors project. We have now moved to the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme as we can see the benefits for consumers and local food businesses.

“Having a single consistent scheme across the country will mean that the rating will have the same significance wherever customers are buying food. The public will be able to use the rating information when deciding which food outlets to visit, and we hope that food operators will recognise that the scheme is good for business.”

Council environmental health officers carry out unannounced food hygiene inspections of food businesses and rate them on hygiene standards covering food preparation, staff training and management systems.

The manager of a prestigious High Street coffee shop said: “I think the scheme is great idea overall but our displayed rating is still that awarded 18 months ago in December 2010. We quickly made the necessary improvements but had to chase for re-assessment several times before it was finally carried out in May this year.

“Unfortunately the report from the recent visit has still not been filed so our previous rating is still showing on the FSA website. This is obviously misleading, we were awarded a much improved rating on the recent inspection. But it could work the other way round: a business with a high mark could let standards slip but the low frequency of inspections and the delay between inspection and report filing/website update means that the public would not see this until much later.

I would suggest two improvements:

  • a short ‘period for improvement’ should be introduced to allow a business that scores poorly  48-72hrs to fix the problems;
  • more frequent spot checks to ensure standards are being maintained;
  • faster re-inspections, report completion and website update.

More information about the scheme can be seen at:

What are your views? Are you in a business that has been inspected? Or are you a member of the public interested in the ratings of food outlets that you use? Please use the ‘Leave a reply’ feature below to have your say.

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