Convenience store retailers will be included after all in the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA’s) controversial Scores On The Doors (SOTDs) programme to improve food hygiene standards.

The Association of Convenience Stores had called for shops with no open food handling to be exempt from the scheme, which publicly names and shames food premises with a below-par hygiene rating, but C-Store has learned that this is unlikely to happen.

Stuart Knill, general manager food safety at independent health and safety auditor Venners, said that anybody who sold ready-to-eat food, including sandwiches, would be included in the scheme, which comes into effect this autumn.

“More c-stores are selling food to go and the FSA will come down on them,” he said. “Retailers will have to place a greater focus on temperature and stock rotation. I would also advise them to keep written records of all checks.”

Knill added that retailers who prepared food for sale in their own kitchens would come under particular scrutiny.

His warning comes as a retailer in Oldham was fined more than £1,000 for selling out-of-date food. Sunny’s Convenience Store in Middleton was found selling chilled products 20 days past their sell-by dates.

The retailer was also fined for failing to notify the council that he was selling perishable food.

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