WITH 20 restaurants and counting falling short of what is expected of them in terms of food hygiene, The Gazette looks at what this means in real terms. 

In 2019, nearly one in 10 restaurants and venues visited by inspectors were found to be falling below the standard expected. 

This is nearly double the number in 2018 granted the rating between January and March of this year. 

Despite this, bosses at Food Standards Scotland who run the Food Hygiene Information Scheme (FHIS), which governs ratings, have said there have been no significant changes over that period to explain to shift. 

A spokeswoman for Food Standards Scotland said: "Food Standards Scotland can confirm there have been no recent changes to how local authorities are expected to carry out food hygiene inspections.

"The Food Hygiene Information Scheme (FHIS) is designed to give straightforward information about how well a food business has fared in its last food hygiene inspection by its local authority.

"A 'Pass' shows the business has met the legal requirements in its food hygiene inspection, and that procedures and processes are in place for providing safe food.

"Where a business has failed to meet these requirements it's issued with an 'Improvement Required' certificate and appropriate action is taken to ensure public health is protected."

The FHIS covers more than 48,000 food outlets across all 32 Local Authorities in Scotland. 

Information about current inspections can be found on Food Standards Scotland's website, as well as many local authorities, and venues will be in one of four categories. 

According to Food Standards Scotland's website, these are: 

  • Pass - they meet the legal requirements for food hygiene.
  • Improvement Required - the business didn’t meet the legal requirements and needs to make improvements.
  • Exempt Premises - the business has been inspected by a local authority food safety officer, met the pass criteria, but don’t meet the criteria to be part of the scheme.  These businesses are low-risk to people’s health in terms of food safety and you perhaps wouldn’t normally think of them as a food business – for example, newsagents, chemist shops or visitor centres selling tins of biscuits.
  • Awaiting Inspection - If a new business has been set up, or there is a new owner, it will not have a food hygiene rating. These businesses will be identifiable by their ‘Awaiting Inspection’ certificate or rating on our website. 

After an inspection has taken place, businesses get a sticker that they can use to display their rating on so that customers know about where they eat. 

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