Food safety stars

A couple of years ago there had been some controversy in the Netherlands about the fact that the country’s food safety board (NVWA) did not disclose the results of its inspection of food vendors such as restaurants. Business who did violate food safety regulation did get fined but this fact was not made public. Since then the law has been changed to allow disclosure of inspection reports.

We believe that consumers have a right to know if a vendor of food, does take food safety regulations seriously. A fine is for violating these rules, is important but as long as vendors can keep this information from their consumers, there is little to force them to stay on the good track. The loss of income as result of a consumer boycott will be a more effective penalty than a simple fine.

However, since reporting bad vendors only will be rather negative, we propose to mark good vendors with stars. A vendor who has followed all rules will get, for instance, three stars and those vendors who ignore all rules will receive no stars at all (and a fine). These stars will be valid for one year.

Consumers should be able to verify if a vendor has any stars and hence there should be an official website and an app. This way people can more easily exert their consumer power.