Should the display of food hygiene ratings be mandatory ?

At the moment, the display of the ratings accorded by The Food Standards Agency to food outlets is purely voluntary. Businesses have the right to choose to keep their rating from the public if they so wish, although it should be mentioned that all scores are freely available on the FSA’s website.

Any change to this would require a change in the legislation, and so the FSA continues to monitor public opinion as well as that of the businesses concerned. It has recently published research designed to establish how many businesses actually choose to display their score, ahead of a review to take place later this month.

They found that just under half of food outlets in England choose to display their rating, while half of the rated establishments in Ireland display theirs. Unsurprisingly, the higher the score, the more likely a business is to put it on display to inform their customers of their food hygiene standards!

While many businesses have reservations about making the display of scores mandatory, it would seem that consumers and local authorities are generally in favour of a mandatory display scheme. What do you think? Would mandatory display strengthen the scheme and result in better standards, or would it pose a threat to the survival of some food outlets?