People urged to look before they book Christmas meals

By on 05/11/2014 in News

People in Birmingham thinking of celebrating Christmas by eating out are being urged to ‘look before you book’ to ensure their festive meals are memorable for the right reasons.

Anyone planning a Christmas meal with work colleagues, friends or family can check restaurants’ hygiene ratings on the Food Standards Agency website.

Christmas is a time to enjoy good company and good food without worrying about food poisoning, but the truth is, diners can’t tell how good a restaurant’s hygiene standards are by how clean and tidy the staff look or by how busy it is.

It’s the things people can’t see – like germs spread by bad hygiene practices – that you need to consider. There’s one easy way to set your mind at rest – check the food hygiene rating.

The food hygiene rating tells you about hygiene standards in restaurants and other food businesses. It’s really easy to check. Just visit the Food Standards Agency website – www.food.gov.uk/ratings – or, if you’re out and about, check for the green and black sticker; if you can’t see one, just ask.

The ratings are determined by local authority food safety officers and run from 0 to 5, with a 5 rating meaning a very good level of food hygiene. The vast majority (93%) of food businesses are rated 3 or better so there are plenty of places with good standards and you can easily avoid taking your family to those not meeting the grade. If you don’t see a green and black sticker in the window or you spot a low rating online, you can make a better informed choice.

Cllr Barbara Dring, Chair of Birmingham City Council’s Licensing and Public Protection Committee, said: “It’s easy for people in Birmingham to check hygiene ratings online and choose a restaurant for their Christmas parties that takes food hygiene seriously.

“This is an important time for local businesses. A good food hygiene rating is something to be proud of.  It matters to customers so we are encouraging all businesses across the city to display their rating and have a prosperous Christmas season.â€

Catherine Brown, Chief Executive, Food Standards Agency, agrees: “This Christmas, do this one little thing for peace of mind when eating out. Take a moment to check the food hygiene rating, pick the right place, and enjoy a great meal out.â€

For more information, visit www.food.gov.uk/business-industry/caterers/hygieneratings

ENDS

Media contact: Please call Nadina Mustafa on 0207 276 8817 or email Nadina.Mustafa@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk

Notes to editors

The Food Hygiene Ratings can be found at: www.ratings.food.gov.uk/

Frequently asked questions and answers can be found at:

www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/hygiene-rating-schemes/rating-schemes-faqs-en

  • Birmingham City Council and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) want to:

    • Give consumers information about hygiene standards in food outlets so that they can make informed choices.
    • Drive up hygiene standards in food businesses.
    • Reduce the incidence of foodborne illness (recent research estimated that there were 500,000 cases from the main causes of foodborne illness.  Including all types of food borne disease could double this figure to nearer 1 million cases).
  • The scheme covers businesses supplying or serving food direct to consumers such as restaurants, takeaways, cafés, pubs, hotels, schools, hospitals, care homes, supermarkets and other retailers.
  • There are six hygiene ratings ranging from 0 (urgent improvement required) at the bottom to 5 (very good) at the top.
  • The scheme is designed so that all businesses, no matter how small can achieve the top rating by meeting (not exceeding) the legal requirements and any improvements needed to get a higher rating are no more than is required by law.

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