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Food: Safety

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 15 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the estimated cost is of implementing the national Scores on the Doors scheme over the next three years. (247540)

The national Scores on the Doors (SotD) schemes (one for England, Wales and Northern Ireland and one for Scotland) are being established by the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

The most significant costs of implementing the SotD schemes are those of the FSA. These costs are for providing support to local authorities operating the scheme, a communications strategy, and for establishing a web-based information technology platform for disseminating scores to consumers. These costs are estimated to be between £3 million and £5.7 million over the first three years.

Costs for local authorities and the food industry will depend on the number of local authorities that choose to implement the SotD schemes. For businesses covered, there will be a one-off cost for familiarisation which is estimated at £16 per business. For local authorities there will be time costs associated with the FSA-funded training that are estimated at £125 per officer trained. There will also be annual costs per authority of an estimated £3,000 for printing and issuing of certificates, and an estimated £600 for handling appeals. There may also be costs for re-inspection or re-visits for the purposes of re-scoring for which local authorities may charge, along with costs associated with any legal challenge.

It is estimated that there will be an economic saving of around £12.3 million over a three year period associated with a one per cent, decrease in food-borne illness resulting from operation of the SotD schemes.