Restaurants could have to display their hygiene ratings to customers under the next steps to beef up food safety standards in Jersey.
Last week the States started publishing food safety ratings for restaurants and cafes for the first time, but Medical Officer of Health Dr Susan Turnbull says that they want to go further. She says that the outdated food safety laws mean that all they can do is close premises down if they are breaking the law – she wants more powers to issue directions and force restaurants to improve their standards as well.
She says that beyond passing on information to the public, the new ratings system had also improved standards – restaurants were told what their ratings would be a few weeks before the system went live, and many took immediate steps to improve hygiene practices when faced with the prospect of a low score.
Restaurants and cafes have had to publicly display hygiene ratings in the US for years, and last November Wales passed a law saying that premises selling food had to display their score, which runs on a 0-5 scale like Jersey’s.
Dr Turnbull said that the department had been pleased with the success of the Eat Safe Jersey scheme, which had seen thousands of Islanders flooding online to see food ratings here, and said that they wanted to improve food safety legislation.
She said that they wanted to produce a new law within the next 18 months and to consult on proposals including display of food hygiene ratings, and enforcement powers for Public Health officers.
“That proposal will go forward, along with all of the other priorities that we have identified for the new minister,” said Dr Turnbull.
“The response to the Eat Safe scheme has made it very clear that we will be needing a more up-to-date law.”
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