A council is urging anyone planning a special Valentine’s Day meal out tomorrow to look at the food hygiene ratings of restaurants before making a reservation.
Restaurants and takeaways are assessed by council officers and given ratings from zero to five as part of the National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.
Breckland Council is reminding diners to be on the look out for ratings of three to five to be sure their chosen venue has proper food hygiene procedures in place.
Alison Webb, Breckland’s executive member for people and information, said: “The national scheme provides a fast and simple way to check the place where you plan to eat takes food hygiene seriously.
“You can’t judge a restaurant’s food hygiene standards by how clean and tidy the establishment looks, so using the scheme is always the best way to put your mind at rest.
“The standards in Breckland are very good – 97 per cent of our establishments have a Food Hygiene Rating of between three and five – so there are plenty to choose from.”
The National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme covers how hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and store; the condition of the structure of the buildings – cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities; and how the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe.
Breckland was one of the pilot authorities that helped develop the national scheme and was among the first councils to adopt it in November 2010.
Since launching the scheme, it has applied a combination of coaching, education and enforcement to help drive up standards and support local businesses whose ratings were between zero and two.
To check the food hygiene rating of a food outlet, look for the green and black sticker in the window or check online at www.food.gov.uk/ratings.