As a consumer, do you think SA food businesses take their food safety levels seriously? The main purpose of the Scores on Doors hygiene and food safety rating initiative is to eliminate any guesswork when eating out. To put it another way, Scores on Doors allows consumers to make an informed decision when selecting a restaurant or take-away. You can start now by using the search function at the top of this webpage.
Participating food businesses display the Scores on Doors food hygiene certificate in a conspicuous place, this is usually on the inside of a shop front window or door. The certificate indicates the most recent food hygiene score achieved by means of a food premises inspection. On completion of a thorough inspection, the business is assigned an alphabetical letter rating indicating their food safety standard:
As a matter of fact, benefits of Scores on Doors are new to South Africa. Furthermore, the way it is implemented on the local scene is also different, read... here. When considering any consumer benefits, it must be grounded in a thorough knowledge of a fully functioning rating scheme, for example in:
In South Africa we rely on restaurant and take-away businesses to voluntary participate in the initiative, this is a good reason to support participants as they take their food hygiene seriously! In most countries abroad food safety rating has voluntary status, unless it is made compulsory by local government/ authorities of a district council, province, state, or territory. SA food safety rating for businesses is known as the Scores on Doors initiative, and overseas it may be called a program, scheme, or as food establishment inspections.
If you would like more information on sections covered in the food safety inspection, i.e. what auditors observe, check and amend can be read... here.
Overseas food hygiene rating inspections/ assessments/ audits are done by health officials in the public sector, i.e. they are employees of local government or municipalities, whereas SA food hygiene rating inspections are undertaken by auditors and freelance Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) operating in the private sector, i.e. they are either businesses or self-employed.
The advantage for SA food businesses and auditors is they can utilise more quality time on the inspection itself, i.e. peruse records, correct hazards and provide advice, etc. Disadvantage is the inspection is not free, nonetheless, to attract voluntary participation inspection fees are deemed as affordable.
If a food business fails their inspection, the Scores on Doors food hygiene certificate will NOT be issued.
Taking local food safety challenges into consideration, the launching of a local government food safety rating scheme could take many years, or not happen at all. Some of the most likely contributing factors are:
As conditions start to improve within local government departments and municipalities, this would lead to collaborative projects and partnerships between the public and private sector by means of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). Lastly, we do however remain optimistic that things in the public sector will improve in the near future to accomplish this.