10 March 2016
Article by Elfyn Henderson, National Assembly for Wales Research Service
The Assembly will vote on secondary legislation (PDF 790KB) on 15 March 2016 that will require takeaway food businesses to include a statement on hard copy publicity material that directs customers to the food hygiene ratings website.
What will the Regulations do?
The Regulations will require takeaway food businesses in Wales to display a prescribed bilingual statement on certain hard copy materials – for example menus and leaflets – that directs customers to the food hygiene ratings website, and encourages customers to ask the food business for its rating.
They will also make provision for the voluntary use of food hygiene rating images, and, if used, prescribe what form the graphic should take.
The Regulations will make it an offence not to display the statement in its prescribed form or, if used, to display an incorrect or fabricated rating, or to display the rating graphic in a form other than that prescribed.
Finally, the Regulations will also create a power for local authority food enforcement officers to issue fixed penalty notices, undertake prosecutions and remove materials for the purposes of investigation.
The Welsh Ministers have the power to make the Regulations under the Food Hygiene Rating (Wales) Act 2013 (122KB). This is the legislation that makes it compulsory for food businesses to display their food hygiene rating where it can easily be seen by customers.
During the Act’s passage through the Assembly, the Health and Social Care Committee and the then Minister for Health and Social Services, Lesley Griffiths, discussed the merits of including a statutory requirement for food hygiene ratings to be displayed on food businesses’ promotional material.
The Committee agreed with the Minister that including such a requirement would impose additional burdens on food businesses and, given that the same promotional material can be used over a number of years, cause confusion if a business’s rating changes. The discussion is summarised in the Committee’s Stage 1 Report (624KB).
However, the discussions did lead to the Minister amending the legislation so that the Welsh Ministers could make Regulations requiring food businesses to publish a statement on publicity materials directing consumers to the Food Standards Agency website, where they can view the food hygiene rating scheme.
The Welsh Government consulted on the Regulations between 24 August 2015 and 13 November 2015 and has published a summary of responses and its response to the comments it received (PDF 346KB).
The Welsh Government has produced an Explanatory Memorandum (PDF 386KB) to accompany the Regulations.
If passed, the Regulations will come into force on 28 November 2016, allowing a lead-in time for both food businesses and local authorities. Their full title is: The Food Hygiene Rating (Promotion of Rating) (Wales) Regulations 2016 (PDF 790KB).