Convenience store retailers who offer food to go face a substantial increase in red tape when the national Scores on the Door scheme is enforced in food retail premises later this year.

The scheme assesses hygiene standards of convenience stores which prepare food on site under the same criteria as restaurants, cafés and takeaways.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) plans to introduce a new six-tier hygiene and cleanliness rating scheme for all food businesses that supply food directly to consumers as opposed to the simple ‘pass or fail’ rating that the trade had lobbied for. The FSA wants all ratings prominently displayed so that consumers can see them.

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) argued that c-stores should be exempt from the scheme. Chief executive James Lowman said the new system would cause concern for thousands of retailers.

“Putting together takeaways, restaurants, cafés, delis and c-stores in the same uniform rating structure is a recipe for confusion,” he said.