Eateries might have to pay for hygiene re-inspection

Eateries might have to pay for hygiene re-inspection

Restaurants and takeaways with a low food hygiene rating might have to pay £160 to be re-inspected.

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council is considering introducing the charges from July 1 which could net the local authority an extra £3,200 a year.

The town adopted the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme in 2010, which allows a re-inspection for free within six months of one being requested by restaurant owners.

But the change would allow a re-inspection to take place no more than three months after the request.

The borough council’s Cabinet could pass the proposal on June 21 if it is advanced from an advisory board meeting on May 30.

Mandatory inspections, typically completed every 18 months, will still be carried out and businesses which are given low ratings must make urgent or major improvements to hygiene standards.

All outlets are rated out of five under the scheme. Three out of five is considered ‘satisfactory’ and no more work is needed.

But it is possible to request a re-inspection if a score of three, or even four, out of five is recorded.

A borough council spokesman said: ‘Businesses have become more aware of the impact that publicity of having scores of zero to two have in local media and an associated public awareness.

‘Charging will encourage businesses to achieve a five score and get it right the first time.

‘Businesses are likely to consider whether they apply for a request for re-inspections, as they will ensure that any work required by the first inspection is completed before the officer returns.

‘This should result in more efficient use of officer time and improved public safety.’

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