Last updated on 2 November 2012
Don't let food poisoning ruin your festive celebrations
If there's one thing guaranteed to ruin your Christmas meal out with friends, family or colleagues, it's a nasty bout of food poisoning. But how can you find out if the restaurant owner takes food hygiene seriously before you make your booking? Our Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) can tell you!
About food hygiene ratings
Our scheme rates the hygiene standards of eateries and places that sell food. It aims to reduce the one million cases of food poisoning suffered by people every year. Run in partnership with local authorities, this national scheme is based on inspections carried out by local authority food safety officers. What’s more, these ratings are public. This means they are available for everyone to see.
How does it work?
The scheme rates food outlets on a scale ranging from the lowest rating of zero (which means urgent improvement necessary to the hygiene standards of this business) to a top rating of five (which means the hygiene standards are very good).
You can check the rating online at www.food.gov.uk/ratings, via a free phone app (see the links towards the end of this page), or look for the distinctive green and black sticker – like the one below – in the window of the restaurant or food shop.
Where to eat?
Our on-the-go app makes it even easier for people to check hygiene ratings before deciding which place to visit.
If you’re organising a Christmas gathering with family, friends or work colleagues, you’ll probably go to a restaurant where you like the food. However, this time around, don't just examine the menu. Make a point to also check their hygiene rating.
When dining out, it makes sense to look before you book and check out the food hygiene rating as well.
Catriona Stewart, Head of the Food Hygiene Ratings Team at the FSA, added: 'No-one wants to gamble with their health when eating out, particularly when celebrating with a special festive meal. Local authorities have worked with the FSA to successfully roll-out the scheme which helps people choose where to eat. Our on-the-go app makes it even easier for people to check hygiene ratings before deciding which place to visit.'