Look before you book this festive season

23 November 2015

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Food Safety Officers are urging residents to ‘look before they book’ when it comes to selecting venues for festive celebrations.

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, which gives consumers informed choice and is driving up hygiene standards in food outlets, was officially launched by the Food Standards Agency five years ago this month.

The ratings are determined by food safety officers, who are part of the Council’s Regulatory Services Team, and run from 0 - 5, with a 5 rating meaning very good food hygiene standards.

There are over 455,000 ratings available to view online and it’s really easy to check the hygiene rating of a food business - just go to www.food.gov.uk/ratings

Around 93 percent of food businesses are rated 3 or better so there are plenty of places with good standards to choose from and it’s easy to avoid taking your family and friends to those not meeting the grade.

The scheme has been a huge success so far, with 325 (out of a total of 326) local authorities in England now operating the scheme compared to 137 in the first year.

Councillor Mark Henesy, Cabinet Member for Environment and Community, said: “The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme campaign encourages people, when eating out or buying food, to look for the hygiene rating and have peace of mind that they are making a responsible choice in keeping their family and friends safe.

“By checking the rating you can be reassured to know that that you’ve chosen a food business where they take food safety as seriously as you. Voting with your feet will encourage more businesses to strive to achieve the top rating and that will be good for their business.”  If you’re out and about you can use mobile phone apps or look for the green and black sticker on display in many premises and if you can’t see one, just ask the staff.

If you're running a food business, you should know that any food business, no matter how small, can achieve the top food hygiene rating of 5. Over a third of businesses displaying their rating at their premises say it has made a difference by attracting more custom, improving their reputation and increasing customer confidence.

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