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Establishments that are awarded the top mark on four successive visits are awarded a smiley face with a banner reading Elite below it, but Agriculture Minister Dan J rgensen (S) argues they are often misinterpreted by consumers and should be ditched.

[Consumers] associate the elite smiley with a greater level of security than the [food agency] F devarestyrelsen says they can actually provide. The point of the smiley is to provide better information, not the opposite. That is why I think it is sensible to drop the elite smiley, J rgensen told Jyllands-Posten.

Consumer watchdog in favourThe move is supported both by the consumer watchdog T nk and the industry lobby group Dansk Erhverv, both of which J rgensen consulted prior to making his decision.

Consumers over-interpret the elite smiley, T nk spokesperson Camilla Udsen told Jyllands-Posten, referring to a F devarestyrelsen study.

I think that the elite smiley sends a signal that hygiene conditions are far better than they really are. The elite smiley is not a better mark than the happy-faced smiley. All it means is that the establishment received four top marks in a row, Udsen said.

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