'Look before you book' for Christmas

Press Release: 09/10/2014

Food Hygiene signs

Thinking of eating out this Christmas?

If you are planning that special Christmas meal with work colleagues, friends or family Winchester City Council and the Food Standards Agency want to remind you to ‘look before you book’.

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

It’s the things you 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 easy to check. Just go online and check 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 0-5, with a 5 rating meaning a very good level of food hygiene. 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.

Catherine Brown, Chief Executive of the Food Standards Agency, said:

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.

Cllr Jan Warwick, Winchester City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Environment, Health and Wellbeing, said:

It’s easy for people in Winchester City Council’s area 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 to display their rating and have a prosperous Christmas season.

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