In 2009, the Food Standards Agency investigated 1,208 food incidents, while 2010 saw an increase to 1,505. Last year, this number jumped again to 1,714.
The FSA has not identified any one particular reason for this increase, although they have stated that improved monitoring and reporting could have played a major part in the increase. There were also more cases involving microbiological contamination, pesticides and paan leaves.
For food businesses, the roll-out of the new rating system could identify failings in terms of food safety as well as provide the motivation that some food outlets may need to improve the implementation and management of food safety procedures.
Although it is not at present mandatory to display the star rating to the public on the premises, all results are published on the Food Standards Agency’s website and are freely available to members of the public. Results are also often published by the local press.
Bad ratings can have a significant impact on a business’ reputation and thus, the bottom line, even if inspectors do not feel the need to issue a Notice. If your business is still waiting to be awarded a rating, make sure you are prepared and check your standards and procedures now.