Last updated on 6 March 2013
Check before you choose, on Mother's Day
Treating your mum to a meal out this Mother’s Day (Sunday 10 March)? Make sure you show her you care by checking the food hygiene rating, as well as the menu, before you make a booking.
Your mum's favourite restaurant might look amazing and be getting great reviews, but 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 to help you make an informed choice.
When dining out, especially with loved ones, it's common to choose a place where you like the food and you know you’ll have a good time. However, it also makes sense to check out the food hygiene rating as well.
You might be surprised by some of the results. It’s possible that a cheap takeaway might have a higher food hygiene rating than a smart, expensive restaurant.
About food hygiene ratings
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. The top rating of 5 means a business has ‘very good’ hygiene standards and every outlet should be able to achieve this.
How to check
It’s easy to check out the ratings by looking them up online at: food.gov.uk/ratings or by downloading our 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.
Putting the consumer first
Catriona Stewart, Head of the Food Hygiene Ratings Team at the FSA, said: ‘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 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 help prevent that by checking out your choices first, before you book.