The Food Standard Agency website states that they “Help consumers choose where to eat out or shop for food by giving them information about the hygiene standards in restaurants, cafés, takeaways, hotels and food shops.”
The scheme ensures each restaurant is given a fair rating, they are inspected by a food safety officer from their local authority then awarded with a score. The scheme helps customers make up their minds, and also encourages businesses to improve hygiene standards
In areas where the scheme is run (the scheme is new) a sticker will be displayed where customers can easily see it, showing that particular restaurant’s rating from 0 – 5. However, a business can choose not to show their ratings.
What do these ratings actually mean?
0 – Urgent improvement necessary
1 – Major improvement necessary
2 – Improvement necessary
3 – Generally satifactory
4 – Good
5 – Very good
So, how are restaurant food hygiene ratings judged?
The food safety officer will look at how well the business is meeting the requirements of the law by looking at:
- How hygienically the food is handled -how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored.
- The condition of the structure of the building – the cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities.
- How the business manages their records and how it ensures food is safe.
After the inspection the officer and the local authority will ensure the business will put the measures in place to achieve the top rating. A new rating will be given every time an officer visits the business and the frequency of the visit depends on the risk to people’s health. The business can ask for a rating if they have made improvements.
A good example
The Indian Ocean in Ashton-Under-Lyne has achieved a five star rating. This means their food hygiene has achieved the best rating. Having this top rating reassures all of their customers that their food is stored, prepared and cooked in the best way possible.
Simple food hygiene rating schemes allow us all to know we are enjoying our favourite food in the safest places. Look out for the stickers in restaurants near you.
Need a rating in a hurry?
There’s even a free app for when you’re on the move.
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