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Box 16: Scores on the Doors

Scores on the Doors is a scheme whereby food safety information is made available at the point of sale, supported by web-based information systems. Several local authorities have already introduced Scores on the Doors schemes, and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) is now working with three groups of local authorities in London, the Midlands and Scotland to evaluate different pilots. Key issues for this evaluation will include the relationship between the ratings scheme and legal compliance, as well as the level of consistency between different schemes. Over the next two years, the FSA will test different models, and will seek to make a recommendation for one preferred scheme nationwide.

Schemes similar to Scores on the Doors operate in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and parts of Europe. A studyof one scheme in Los Angeles found that both consumer and supplier behaviour changed after the ratings became public. The proportion of restaurants receiving 'good' scores more than doubled, sales at these establishments rose by 5.7% (while sales fell at restaurants with poor ratings) and food-borne illness fell by 13%.

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