Hygiene ratings provide some food for thought

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PEOPLE in Wealden organising a celebratory Christmas meal are being urged to check out the restaurant’s hygiene levels.

Wealden District Council’s membership of the National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme means people can check the hygiene scores of a pub or restaurant before they book.

Environmental Health officers from Wealden’s public protection team carry out unannounced inspections of all businesses that sell or serve food.

They give them a national rating based on the standard of management and hygiene found. The businesses are then given a distinctive green sticker showing their rating to display in a window for the public to see.

Ratings are also displayed on the National Food Hygiene Ratings website – http://ratings.food.gov.uk .

Councillor Johanna Howell, cabinet member for the community and voluntary sector, said, “Our hygiene classification system allows restaurants, pubs and hotels to show people how good the hygiene is at their premises.

“If no sticker is displayed, people should ask the business, why not? Do they have something to hide?

“Usually the public are in good hands, and this new system shows that. Nearly half the food businesses in Wealden have attained the top hygiene rating of five.

“But with Christmas coming, it’s easy to make sure by visiting the National Food Hygiene website, run by the Food Standards Agency, to check for yourself and see the ratings of other local premises.”

In Wealden, more than 500 food businesses have achieved the top rating of five, meaning they are very good. Businesses scoring four are good, and three equates to a generally satisfactory compliance with the law.

Any rating below three means improvements in hygiene standards are needed. Those scoring 0 are the poorest performers and may well be subject to enforcement action to improve standards.