The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is urging retailers in England and Wales to be on their guard against a new food hygiene rating scam which could leave them out of pocket and under pressure.

Food hygiene

Three local authorities in Wales and one in England have received reports of a person claiming to be from the FSA or the local authority, approaching food businesses demanding money for a Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) re-rating and warning that failure to pay will result in a fine.

Neither the FSA nor local authorities would demand money in this way, the FSA said.

“Local authorities are responsible for carrying out inspections of food businesses to check that they meet the requirements of food hygiene law.

“They give businesses food hygiene ratings based on the findings of the inspections. There is no charge for these inspections. 

“Local authorities may charge only when the re-rating inspection is requested by the food business and will not demand that a request is made.

“If you are concerned that your business may have been targeted by a scam referencing food hygiene inspections or the FHRS, do not provide any details or make any payments and ask for ID from the caller,” FSA food hygiene rating team head Angela Towers added.

The FHRS is set out in law in Wales and Northern Ireland where display of the rating sticker is mandatory.

Displaying of the rating sticker is voluntary in England.

The scheme is run by the FSA, and in Wales, by the Welsh government in partnership with local authorities.