The horse meat scandal and the recent chicken sell-by date scandal illustrate how the current model of food safety regulation is failing to protect consumers. In July the Food Standards Agency published Regulating Our Future, a document that sets out a plan to improve the food industry’s regulation controls. A refresh is certainly due – but what does this mean for the convenience store sector?

Firstly, what does your premise’s food hygiene Score on the Door mean for you and – more importantly – to your customers? If your store has been awarded a 5 Star rating, well done – you are managing the store in a way that will give your customers assurance that the food you sell is safe.

However, the 5 Star score is a minority in the independent sector. An exclusive investigation of food hygiene ratings for betterRetailing.com reveals that an average of 39% of stores in the eight symbol groups* have a 5 Star score. The giants in convenience, Tesco Express and Sainsbury’s Local, have more than double that success rate: 89% of their stores have 5 Stars.

50% is a huge difference for the independent sector to bridge. With the Food Standards Agency actively looking at improving current food regulations, it’s time that every business looks at how they manage the food they sell.

The Food Standards Agency hopes to deliver the new model by January 2020. Now is the time to review your food hygiene policy and ask yourself if it is fit for purpose. To take the first step, visit the FSA online guide Food Hygiene: A Guide for Business.

Stay tuned for Part II of our food hygiene investigation out next week.

*The eight symbol groups investigated are Bargain Booze, Best One, Costcutter, Go Local, Londis, Nisa, Premier and Simply Fresh. The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme website was searched using these fascia group names between August 30 and 1 September 1, 2017. The sample size was 3,317, around a third of the total that these group claim.