The Food Standards Agency in the United Kingdom has surveyed consumers and found that awareness for their Food Hygiene Rating stickers is up. Consumers are not only understanding, but using the stickers to make decisions, on th whole, about food purchases.
The stickers were introduced as a way for restaurants and food establishments to be rated by regulators according to their cleanliness and the number of incidents that had been reported about the premises. The scheme works in a way similar to how the health inspection system of the USDA works in the United States, but with a more public display of the rating. In some areas of the UK, it’s mandatory that bars and restaurants display their FSA stickers publicly.
For allergy sufferers, the stickers are also an important metric as part of the FSA testing for the stickers include allergen reporting. The FSA says that of those polled, about four percent reported a food allergy, most of which had been self-reported as clinically diagnosed. One in ten were in a household with a food allergy.
The findings are important, as are the stickers, but new European Union regulations will make it mandatory for most restaurants in the EU (including the UK) to display information about fourteen allergens that might be contained in either the establishment as a whole or specific menu items.