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Written Statement - Food Hygiene Rating (Wales) Bill

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Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Health and Social Services 

The Food Hygiene Rating (Wales) Bill has been laid today.

The Bill gives effect to the Welsh Government's proposals to introduce a statutory food hygiene rating scheme in Wales. The Food Standards Agency (FSA), in partnership with Local Authorities currently operates a voluntary food hygiene rating scheme in Wales. However, this Bill will establish a food hygiene rating scheme on a statutory footing.

The Bill establishes a statutory requirement for food authorities in Wales (food authorities are defined in the Bill as county councils or county borough councils) to inspect and produce food hygiene ratings for food business establishments in their area, using criteria published by the FSA (sections 2, 3 and 4 of the Bill). Food business establishments that have been rated, will be required to inform the public of their food hygiene rating by displaying their food hygiene rating sticker in a designated position at their establishment (section 7). They will also be required to verbally inform a person of their food hygiene rating if requested to do so (section 8). The Bill will require the FSA to publish all food hygiene ratings on their website (section 6).

Food authorities will be required to enforce the provisions in the Bill. Those food businesses that fail to display a valid food hygiene rating sticker or to comply with a request to verbally inform a member of the public of their food hygiene rating, will commit an offence (section 9).

The Welsh Government intends for the new scheme to be fair to food businesses. When the food authority informs the food business of their rating, the Bill requires the food authority to provide an explanation of why the establishment received the rating. The Bill also makes provision for food businesses to appeal their food hygiene rating and the right to comment upon it. These comments will then be published on the FSA website (sections 5 and 10).

Food businesses can also request, and pay for, a food authority to carry out a further inspection and assessment of the food hygiene standards of the establishment to consider whether a food hygiene rating should be changed (section 11).

The intention of the Bill is to ensure consumers are provided with information about the food hygiene standards of food businesses in Wales. This will enable consumers to make better informed choices about where to eat or shop for food.

I shall be making a Legislative Statement in Plenary tomorrow to introduce the Bill.