With Christmas fast approaching plans are being made for the festive period.
If you’re organising a gathering with family, friends or work colleagues at a local restaurant, pub or hotel don’t just check out the menu, check out the food hygiene rating as well.
Good food hygiene is getting easier to spot these days with the recent introduction of the National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. Restaurants, pubs, hotels, (as well as cafes, takeaways and other places that sell or serve food) are now being rated from 0 - 5 on their hygiene standards when a food hygiene inspection is carried out by Carmarthenshire County Council.
It’s easy to check out the ratings by looking them up online at: www.food.gov.uk/ratings
Christmas party goers can also look out for the distinctive green and black stickers that businesses are encouraged to display at their outlets to tell their customers the rating they were given.
Carmarthenshire introduced the Food Standards Agency national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) across the county following inspections carried out from October 2010.
Food outlets, such as restaurants, takeaways and pubs, are inspected by food safety officers from Carmarthenshire County Council, to check that their hygiene standards meet legal requirements. The hygiene standards found at these inspections are rated on a scale ranging from zero at the bottom (which means ‘urgent improvement necessary’) to a top rating of five (‘very good’). The scores are awarded following an unannounced inspection and will depend on the structure, cleanliness and supporting up-to date paperwork. Those businesses allocated a zero will not be closed as they don’t pose an ‘imminent risk to health’, however, they will be carefully monitored to ensure improvements required are implemented.
Carmarthenshire County Council executive board member for public protection Cllr Pam Palmer said: “When dining out, you’ll choose to go to a place where you like the food and you know you’ll have a good time. It makes sense to look before you book and check out the food hygiene rating as well.”
Steve Wearne, Director of the Food Standards Agency in Wales, added: ‘The FHRS is all about putting the consumer first, supplying people with useful information on which to base their choice of where to eat. The FSA is working in partnership with Carmarthenshire County Council and other local authorities to introduce this scheme nationally. It means that when you eat out - be it in the area you live or further away - you can easily compare hygiene standards of different food outlets.