Brits are being warned to pay close attention to ‘Scores on the Doors’, the FSA’s hygiene rating scheme that marks a food outlet one to five on its cleanliness, before choosing to eat somewhere over the festive period.
The ‘look before you book’ campaign kicked off at the start of this month, in the run up to the party season, where hundreds of thousands of consumers will book parties and dinners to celebrate Christmas with co-workers and friends.
‘Food safety seriously’
“There are plenty of restaurants to choose from that take food safety seriously and have achieved a high rating, so there is no need to risk food poisoning while eating out this Christmas,” said the FSA.
“Our latest figures show that the percentage of food businesses in the UK achieving the highest rating of five has risen from 53% in 2015 to 67% in 2017.”
Revellers are being encouraged to research the hygiene ratings of venues using the organisation’s ratings website. Pubs, too, should check what the FSA’s records say about them.
Food businesses are given a hygiene rating on inspection by a local council’s food safety officer – zero is the worst and five the best.
Businesses are checked on how well they meet food safety laws using the following three metrics:
- How hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored;
- The condition of the structure of the buildings – the cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation, pest control and other facilities;
- How the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe.
Potential threat posed
However, freehouses have been warned of a potential threat posed by changes to the FSA’s hygiene inspection regime.
Thousands of businesses could close if the FSA’s Regulating Our Future blueprint, published earlier this year, is put into action in its current form.
The new rules could mean fewer inspections for some businesses and additional sanctions for those businesses not up to scratch.