Check before you choose on Mother’s Day
If you are treating your mum to a meal out this Mother's Day (10th March), make sure you show her you care by checking the food hygiene rating as well as the menu.
Her favourite restaurant might look amazing and be getting great reviews, but how good is its hygiene? You can't judge hygiene by appearance alone which is why the Food Standards Agency, in partnership with local authorities, has introduced the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. Think of it as a way to see inside the restaurant kitchens and get some 'behind the scenes' information.
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Restaurants, pubs, hotels, cafés, takeaways and other places that sell or serve food are given a food hygiene rating from 0 to 5 when they are inspected by a food safety officer from Gloucester City Council. The top rating of 5 means a business has 'very good' hygiene standards and every outlet should be able to reach this.
It's easy to check out the ratings by looking them up online at food.gov.uk/ratings or by downloading the free 'food hygiene' app. You can also look out for the distinctive green and black stickers that businesses are encouraged to display to tell their customers the rating they were given.
Councillor Colin Organ, cabinet member for housing, health and leisure, said: "When dining out, especially with loved ones, you'll choose to go to a place where you like the food and you know you'll have a good time. It also makes sense to check out the food hygiene rating as well. You might be surprised by some of the results."
Catriona Stewart, Head of the Food Hygiene Ratings Team at the FSA, added: "The FHRS is all about putting the consumer first, giving people useful information on which to base their choice of where to eat. The FSA is working in partnership with Gloucester City Council and other local authorities to roll out this scheme nationally. We recommend that when you eat out you choose the places with the higher ratings."
There are estimated to be around a million cases of food poisoning every year in the UK, with about 20,000 people ending up in hospital. Nobody wants to have Mother's Day ruined but you can now check out your choices first.
Tell us about your experiences:
Twitter @foodgov #FHRS