Scores on Doors is the NSW hygiene and food safety rating system that enables consumers to make an informed choice about where to eat. Under the scheme, participating businesses display the results of Council food safety and hygiene inspections, with ratings of compliance ranging from between three to five stars.
From 1 July 2016, North Sydney Council will introduce the voluntary NSW Food Authority program across the local government area.
The initiative makes the results of Council’s existing mandatory inspections visible to consumers with the aim of improving food safety standards and reducing the instance of food-borne illness in the retail food industry.
How does Scores on Doors work?
Council’s Environmental Health Officers carry out regular unannounced inspections on local food businesses to ensure their continued compliance with food safety legislation. Eligible businesses are given a score dependent on their level of compliance at the time of inspection.
From July 1 2016, Council will also issue businesses with a certificate showing their score following inspection. Ratings range from between three stars, indicating a 'good' level of food safety and hygiene compliance, to five stars, indicating an 'excellent' level of food safety and hygiene compliance.
The certificate can then be positioned in a place highly visible to customers, usually in a front window or on the door, although businesses can opt not to display it. Eateries which do not meet the required criteria during inspection will not receive a rating certificate.
Food businesses that are not due an annual inspection for several months can be provided with an ‘awaiting inspection’ certificate to display by Council.
What do the star ratings mean?
Businesses found to have no critical food safety breaches at their most recent food safety inspection will be issued with a certificate with a star rating. Three stars means the business has a good general standard of hygiene and food safety, four stars indicates very good hygiene and food safety practices, while five stars mean the business has secured the highest expected level of hygiene and food safety.
Any business with major hygiene and food safety issues will not be issued with a certificate to display. They may also be issued with a warning or improvement notices directing them to address the problem. They can be fined and appear on the NSW Food Authority Name & Shame register. In the worst cases a premises can be closed.
Businesses not participating in the Scores on Doors program also have no certificate.
Which businesses can get involved?
Any eligible retail food business which processes and sells food in NSW that is ready-to-eat can take part, including restaurants, takeaways, cafes, pub bistros, bakeries, hotels and clubs.
It is not open to supermarkets, delicatessens, greengrocers, businesses that serve pre-packaged food, temporary markets, mobile food vending vehicles and retail food businesses that hold a NSW Food Authority licence and are separately audited.
Do businesses have to pay to take part?
No, there are no additional fees for businesses.
When does the scheme start?
North Sydney Council will begin issuing certificates following food safety and hygiene inspections from 1 July 2016.