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Food Hygiene Rating Scheme

Record number of food businesses achieving top hygiene ratings across Wales as mandatory display turns 10

Y nifer uchaf erioed o fusnesau bwyd yn ennill y sgôr hylendid uchaf ledled Cymru 10 mlynedd ers iddi ddod yn ofyniad cyfreithiol i arddangos sgoriau

Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing Lynne Neagle, and Chair of the Food Standards Agency, Professor Susan Jebb, welcome the significant improvement in hygiene ratings for Welsh food businesses on the 10th anniversary of mandatory display of food hygiene ratings.

71% of Welsh food businesses now have the top hygiene rating of 5 – a jump from 44% from 10 years ago – making it the highest on record in Wales.

In 2013, Wales became the first country in the UK to make it a legal requirement to display hygiene rating stickers in prominent places, like front doors and windows of food businesses.

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme has helped drive up hygiene standards in food businesses across Wales with 96% of businesses now displaying a rating of ‘3’ or above. 

Clear displays of hygiene ratings have helped in empowering consumers to make informed choices about where they buy and eat food every day, but also encourages food businesses to improve their hygiene standards.

Local authority teams undertake inspections and give food businesses ratings ranging from 0-5.

Good hygiene ratings have proven to be good for business too - giving a competitive advantage to those showing that they take food hygiene seriously.

FSA research has also shown that premises with higher ratings are less likely to have outbreaks of foodborne illnesses.

Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Lynne Neagle said:

“Everyone in Wales deserves to enjoy their food, with full confidence that it has been prepared in a hygienic manner - the mandatory display of food hygiene ratings has done just that.

Not only is it beneficial for consumers, but businesses too. And I'm delighted to see that the number of food businesses with a ‘5’ rating is the highest it’s ever been in Wales

I am thankful for the close and collaborative work of Welsh local authorities and the Food Standards Agency, in helping to implement the statutory Food Hygiene Rating Scheme over the last 10 years.

The regular engagement with food businesses has been vital to the scheme’s success and helped in driving up food standards to where they are today.”

Professor Susan Jebb, Chair of the Food Standards Agency, said:

“The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is rightly celebrated as one of the most significant public health achievements of the 21st century.

The striking black and green stickers on display at restaurants, cafes, supermarkets and online, are a simple and transparent way of giving people the reassurance that food is being prepared and served in a clean and hygienic way, and the business is meeting its legislative requirements for food hygiene. 

The scheme allows people to vote with their feet or by a click of a button and choose those businesses that take food hygiene seriously.

I’m grateful to the Welsh Government for their commitment to making this a mandatory requirement which has been crucial to the Scheme's success.

I look forward to continuing our collaborative relationship both with Welsh Government and Local Authorities to ensure people in Wales are still empowered to make more informed choices about where they buy and eat food every day.” 

 Richard Holt, owner of Melin Llynon in Anglesey, said:

"To me, a top rating reflects the value my team and I place on meeting the highest food safety and hygiene standards possible. I'm very proud of the 5 in my window.

Anyone thinking of starting a food business should reach out to their Environmental Health Officer and take advantage of the advice and support they can offer.

My EHO is an encyclopedia of knowledge and I’ve found the support they’ve given me incredibly useful.”

Notes to editors

Notes to editors:

  • Tuesday 28 November 2023 marks exactly 10 years since it was made a legal requirement in Wales to display food hygiene ratings in food businesses.
  • For interviews with the Food Standards Agency, please contact: Sioned Fidler - 07799 897251/ Lowri Williams – 07867 537836
  • In Wales, these ratings must be displayed in a prominent place such as on the food business’ front door or window. As well as via the Food Standards Agency (FSA) website:
  • The FSA is the government department responsible for food safety in Wales, England and Northern Ireland. They work with the Welsh Government to set the standards for how the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme should be run in Wales and provide local authorities with guidance and support.
  • The Royal Society for Public Health included the FHRS on the list of the top 20 public health achievements of the 21st century.
  • The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme was voted the 13th best public health innovations in the 21st century by the Royal Society for Public Health, alongside the indoor smoking ban and the HPV vaccination for boys and girls.  
  • Research by FSA shows that foodborne illness outbreaks are twice as likely to occur at businesses with low ratings than in those with a rating of 3, 4 or 5, ultimately benefiting consumers.
  • Evidence from Wales suggests that mandatory display increases the incentives for business to improve and maintain compliance.
  •  In September 2013, 44% of food businesses in Wales achieved the top rating of 5. This increased to 71.2.4% by October 2023
    • 87% of food businesses in Wales had a rating of 3 or above in 2013 before the introduction of mandatory display – this has risen to 96.4% by October 2023.
  • More information on the scheme: Food Hygiene Rating Scheme | Food Standards Agency