If there’s one thing guaranteed to ruin Christmas meals out with friends, family or colleagues, it’s a nasty bout of food poisoning.
But if someone is eating out, how do they know if the restaurant owner takes food hygiene seriously?
The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme rates eateries and other places that sell food on their hygiene standards, based on inspections carried out by Thanet District Council. What’s more, these ratings are available for everyone to see.
This national scheme, developed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in partnership with local authorities, rates food outlets on a scale ranging from zero at the bottom (which means ‘urgent improvement necessary’ to a top rating of five (‘very good’).
Members of the public can check the rating online at www.food.gov.uk/ratings, via a Freephone app, or look for the distinctive green and black rating sticker that businesses are encouraged to display.
Anyone organising a Christmas gathering with family, friends or work colleagues at a local restaurant, pub or hotel shouldn’t just examine the menu – they should also check what its hygiene rating is too.
Thanet council Leader, Cllr Clive Hart, said: “As the festive season approaches, eating out tends to be particularly popular. And that’s why it’s important for people to choose the right place to go. By checking the food hygiene rating before making a booking, it gives added peace of mind.”
Catriona Stewart, Head of the Food Hygiene Ratings Team at the FSA, added: 'No-one wants to gamble with their health when eating out, particularly when celebrating with a special festive meal. Local authorities, including Thanet District Council have worked with the FSA to successfully roll-out the scheme which helps people choose where to eat. Our app makes it even easier for people to check hygiene ratings before deciding which place to visit.”