Food hygiene: Look before you book

As workplaces across the country start thinking about venues for this year’s Christmas party, the Food Standards Agency is encouraging organisers “look before you book”.

Nina Purcell, Director of Local Delivery at the FSA, said:

“You need to consider a lot of things when picking the perfect venue for your Christmas party and you’re usually not short of opinions from work colleagues, but please don’t forget about the food hygiene rating.”

There are plenty of restaurants 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.

Food Hygiene Rating Scheme ratings can be checked on the agency’s website.

Or if you’re out and about, check for the green and black sticker. If you can’t see one, just ask.


Standards are improving

Latest figures show that the percentage of food businesses achieving the highest rating of ‘5’ has risen from 53% in 2015 to 67% in 2017.

They also show that 95% of all food business have received a rating of at least a ‘3’.

“It’s very easy to check on our website or just ask the business. We recommend food businesses with at least a ‘3’ and most food businesses are achieving this.”

How does the scheme work?

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is run by local authorities in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. It applies to all food businesses including restaurants, pubs, and cafes.

After an inspection by a local authority food safety officer, the business receives a hygiene rating.

The food safety officer will check how well the business is meeting the law by looking at:

  • How hygienically the food is handled? How it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored?
  • The condition of the structure of the buildings. Such as 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.
Check food hygiene ratings before booking your works' Christmas do Photo by on Unsplash

At the end of the inspection, the business is given one of the six ratings from ‘0-5’.

The top rating of ‘5’ means that the business was found to have ‘very good’ hygiene standards. Any business should be able to reach this top rating.

“There are plenty of potential regrets at the work Christmas party, but you can help to ensure food poisoning isn’t one of them.”