We’ve got Catriona Stewart from the Food Standards Agency talking about their ‘look before you book’ scheme. If you’re planning a Valentine’s meal, make sure you check the food hygiene rating…
A recent poll we carried out at the Food Standards Agency highlighted Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular days in the year for eating out. It showed that an estimated 77% of us will be marking this special day with a romantic meal.
Of all the things that might go wrong on February 14, 36% of daters told us they’re worried about getting food poisoning and yet only four in 10 said they’ll check the food hygiene rating before booking a table this year.
Lots of effort is put in to checking reviews to find the perfect place with just the right ambiance and great tasting food. For peace of mind, we want people to check that their chosen restaurant meets the grade on food hygiene standards too.
How does the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme work?
The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is a simple way of finding out. Food outlets in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are given a rating when they are inspected by local authority food safety officers – the ratings range from 0 at the bottom to 5 at the top (a different scheme with similar aims operates in Scotland).
The food safety officer checks different aspects of hygiene performance. This includes hygienic handling of food and the cleanliness and condition of the facilities. It also includes the system and checks in place to manage food safety and help ensure the food served to us is safe to eat. Based on this each business is awarded its food hygiene rating, telling you how seriously the restaurant takes food hygiene.
We’ve created this short video to explain what’s behind the numbers:
Look before you book
If you’re dining out with someone special this Valentine’s, we would urge you to ‘look before you book’ and check the rating. If you haven’t booked, then look out for the green and black ratings sticker in the window. If you don’t see one, you can ask the staff.
Do you check food hygiene ratings when you’re going to eat out? Knowing that you want to impress on Valentine’s Day, would you change your mind about a place if you knew it‘s hygiene standards weren’t up to scratch?
This is a guest post from Catriona Stewart. Head, Compliance & Enforcement Strategy Team, Local Delivery Division at the Food Standards Agency. All views are Catriona’s own, not necessarily those of Which?