The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is urging fish and chip shops to be vigilant in light of a food hygiene rating scam.
Three local authorities in Wales and one in England have received reports of a person claiming to be from the FSA or the local authority, approaching food businesses demanding money for a food hygiene re-rating and warning that failure to pay will result in a fine.
Neither the FSA nor local authorities would demand money in this way. Local authorities are responsible for carrying out inspections of food businesses to check that they meet the requirements of food hygiene law and there is no charge for these inspections. Local authorities may charge only when the re-rating inspection is requested by the food business and will not demand that a request is made.
The FSA is urging anyone who thinks they may have been targeted by a scam referencing food hygiene inspections or the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, not to provide any details or make any payments but ask for ID from the caller. This should then be reported to the local authority.
Angela Towers, head of the food hygiene rating team of the FSA, said: "Although the number of reports of this particular scam are low, we are concerned that businesses may lose money to fraudsters pretending to be from the FSA or a local authority. If you are approached by someone asking you to hand over money in this way, do not make any payment and always advise your local authority.”