Pubs across the UK could soon have to pay for requested re-inspections of their premises under the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS), it has been announced.
The Foods Standards Agency (FSA) said that this decision has been prompted following a number of successful trials of requested re-inspection charges by various local authorities in England. By rolling the programme out across the board, they would be helping councils recover costs.
Yet despite this, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers’ (ALMR) chief executive Kate Nicholls warned that the costs should only ever apply to re-inspections and not routine inspections.
She believes that an introduction of fees for inspections could help streamline the process for businesses, as long as local authorities ensure the costs only apply to re-inspections requested by a venue and not routine inspections.
“Venues on the receiving end of a low hygiene rating can take positive steps to address any problems and often find themselves under completely new management with new systems in place,” explained Ms Nicholls.
“It is, therefore, right that businesses should be permitted an opportunity to achieve a higher rating without having to wait through an arbitrary period which may damage their reputation and businesses.”
The FSA has already stated the rules that local authorities should abide by if they charge food companies for a re-inspection.
However, the FSA also stresses that the decision for local authorities to charge for requested re-inspections was entirely up to them.
Angela Towers, head of the FSA’s food hygiene rating team, said: “These powers allow for fees on a cost recovery basis only and it is for each local authority to calculate their own costs.”
This announcement comes following the FSA’s decision to increase its food safety controls, including food businesses use of safeguards for allergen protection.