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Food hygiene rating scheme rolled out

ALL PUBS, restaurants and shops where food is sold, are part of a new hygiene rating scheme which has been rolled out across west Cheshire.

More than two hundred councils in England, Scotland and Wales have introduced the Food Standards Agency scheme.

Ratings are between zero – which means ‘urgent improvement necessary’ to a top rating of five stars -‘very good’.

These ratings will be available for anyone to view on the Food Standards Agency website at www.food.gov.uk/ratings and the businesses involved are given a sticker and certificate and encouraged to display these at the entrance to their premises.

The ratings will give consumers a glimpse of what is going on in the kitchen when they eat out, or behind the scenes at the places they shop, before they make the decision about which place they prefer to visit.

Clive Watkins from Carluccio’s, Chester said "We have made compliance a top priority for every member of staff and by investing in training and taking food hygiene seriously it has been a well deserved team effort to achieve the five hygiene rating".

Owners of ‘The Panini Press’, in Grosvenor Street, Chester said that displaying the five rating certificate in their premises has been well received by customers who now look for the rating in all food businesses that they visit.

The new scheme will build on the success of ‘Scores on the Doors’ that was previously run by Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Executive member for community and environment, councillor Lynn Riley said: "Although we have run our own successful food hygiene scheme, we have opted to change to the Food Hygiene rating scheme, as we can see the benefits for local food businesses and the people that eat or shop in them.

"Having a single scheme which is consistent nationwide, means that the rating will have the same significance wherever people are buying food.

"People will be able to use the information when deciding which food outlets to visit, and we hope that food companies will recognise that displaying a good hygiene rating is good for business."

Catriona Stewart, head of the food hygiene ratings team at the FSA: "We recognise the real progress that has been made in improving hygiene standards in food outlets through ‘local’ food hygiene rating schemes.

"But having a single nationwide scheme will mean a level playing field for businesses across the country, and consumers will be able to recognise and use the ratings in their own area, as well as further from home. "

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RAISING STANDARDS: @ David Brownlow, CWaC – Environmental Health Officer, Lucy Atherton, CWaC – Lead Environmental Health Officer, Nicola Cooper, CWaC – Food Safety Officer, Representatives from The Panini Press, Harvey’s, The Slug & Lettuce and Clive & Daniel from Carluccios who all received five ratings, Andy Challinor, CWaC – Regulatory Services Manager.