We have been made aware of a scam in Wales and England which references both the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS).
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 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. 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 Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, do not provide any details or make any payments and ask for ID from the caller. If you have any suspicions, please report these to your local authority. Use this form if you need to find their contact details.
Angela Towers, Head of the Food Hygiene Rating Team of the FSA, said:
“Although the number of reports of this particular scam are low, we are concerned that businesses may lose money to fraudsters pretending to be from the FSA or a local authority. If you are approached by someone asking you to hand over money in this way, do not make any payment and always advise your local authority.”
We are working closely with local authorities to monitor these reports.
The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is set out in law in Wales and Northern Ireland where display of the rating sticker is mandatory but display of the rating sticker is voluntary in England. The scheme is run by the Food Standards Agency and, in Wales, the Welsh Government, in partnership with local authorities.
The Food Standards Agency is the government department responsible for food safety in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We set the standard for how the FHRS should be run and provide local authorities with guidance and support. You can find more information about the scheme on our FHRS page.