A Belfast fish and chip shop is the first business in Northern Ireland to be prosecuted for failing to display its food hygiene rating.
Café Fish in Lisburn Road has been fined £250 and ordered to pay £120 legal costs for failure to display a valid food hygiene rating sticker as required by Sections 7(1) and 10 (1) of the Food Hygiene Rating Act (Northern Ireland) 2016.
At the time of the offence the premises was rated one, indicating “major improvement necessary” to comply with the food hygiene requirements.
Officers from Belfast City Council visited Café Fish on a number of occasions and repeatedly advised the owner of the need to display the rating before instigating legal proceedings.
Food hygiene ratings are awarded to food businesses following inspections by district council food safety officers. The ratings reflect the hygiene conditions found at the premises at the time of inspection. A rating of 0 means urgent improvement is necessary, with five meaning food hygiene standards are very good.
A valid rating must be displayed by law at or near all entrances to a food premises where it can be readily seen and easily read by customers before they enter the establishment when open for business.
Welcoming the fine, Mark O’Neill, senior food safety advisor at the Food Standards Agency, said: ‘This ruling sends a clear message to businesses that if they fail to display their food hygiene rating action will be taken, whether that be the serving of a fixed penalty notice or prosecution in a court of law. The display of hygiene ratings is about helping consumers to make informed choices about where they eat. By failing to display their rating food businesses are breaking the law.”
Café Fish now has a hygiene rating of four and the respective rating sticker is now being displayed.