Wales’ “scores on the doors” hygiene system for restaurants and takeaways will be extended to companies who supply food, health ministers have announced.
The companies who prepare food but do not sell it directly to customers will display a 0-5 rating on their premises.
The call comes after an E. Coli outbreak in Wales pushed for stricter rules.
Lesley Griffiths, Wales’ Health Minister announced the expanded scheme, would take into account wholesalers, transporters and manufacturers, which are not currently rated under the Food Standards Agency scheme.
Griffiths said, “Food hygiene is essential for the protection of public health.
“The rating scheme will help drive up standards and benefit both consumers and businesses.
“The scheme will enable consumers to make a more informed choice about where they choose to eat or shop for food, while good food hygiene means a higher rating which is good for business.”
William Tudor, a butcher from Bridgend was jailed for 1 year for food safety offences around a fatal E. Coli outbreak in 2005 in south Wales.
Businesses similar to this which supply ingredients and food to other retailers will also be required to display their food hygiene ratings, under the new proposals. If serious cases of neglect are discovered, owners could lose their businesses, commercial restaurant insurance, supplies and will also have a knock on effect on the jobs of the staff who work at the company.
The government in Wales states that 2,500 more businesses will be covered as a result, taking the total number to be around 32,500 in Wales.
On the behalf of the FSA, an evaluation undertaken in 2011 and found that only 31% of food businesses were voluntarily showing their food hygiene rating.
The government believes that the new statutory scheme will be in place by November 2013, which would make Wales the first place in the UK where displaying the ratings will be compulsory.
Darren Millar AM, the health spokesman for the Conservative party said, “We welcome this major step forward in improving food hygiene standards in Wales.
“Displaying visible hygiene ratings on the premises gives consumers clear information to make an informed decision about where they dine or purchase food.
“Giving customers access to information about compliance with hygiene regulations is critical in driving up standards and rooting out bad practice.
“Welsh Conservatives have long campaigned for a hygiene ratings scheme to empower consumers.
“I hope Welsh ministers will engage effectively with food businesses and consumers over the implementation of this scheme and examine ways of making additional information on hygiene inspections available to the public.”
Kirsty Williams Welsh Lib Dems leader, said “We welcome the introduction of the Food Hygiene Rating Bill and we hope that it will receive cross-party support.
“The people of Wales have a right to enjoy food that has been prepared in clean and hygienic premises.
“Scores on the Doors is something we called for in our manifesto last year and we will work with the Welsh government to implement this policy.
“The legislation must work to ensure high standards of hygiene and cleanliness for the Welsh public but it must also be legislation that is fair to Welsh food businesses.”