National trade body the ALMR has welcomed the introduction of fees for voluntary food hygiene inspections but warned that they must only apply to re-inspections requested by businesses and not to routine inspections.
Local authorities can now charge for re-inspections requested by a venue that has taken action following a low hygiene rating.
ALMR chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said: “The introduction of fees for inspections can help streamline the process for businesses, but local authorities must ensure that fees only apply to re-inspections requested by a venue and not routine inspections.
“Venues on the receiving end of a low hygiene rating can take positive steps to address any problems and often find themselves under completely new management with new systems in place. It is therefore right that businesses should be permitted an opportunity to achieve a higher rating without having to wait through an arbitrary period of time which may damage their reputation and businesses.
“The ALMR has been working with HOTREC, the European umbrella body for hospitality associations, to prevent the imposition of fees for routine inspections. As long as these fees remain voluntary then this should be a positive step for closer working between venues and councils.”