Look before you book this Christmas: don’t let poor food hygiene ruin your work’s party.

Last updated:
6 November 2017
FHRS window sticker
If you are booking a restaurant for your work’s Christmas party this year, make sure you choose a venue that is taking its food hygiene responsibilities seriously. So “look before you book” this festive season and check the food hygiene rating.

Make the right choice

There are plenty of restaurants to choose from that take food safety seriously and have achieved a food hygiene rating of 3 (Generally Satisfactory) or above (high rating). There is no need to risk food poisoning from eating out this Christmas.
The latest figures show the percentage of food businesses in Wales achieving the highest rating of ‘5’ (Very Good) has increased from 56% in 2015 to 65% in 2017. They also show that in Wales more than 95% of all food business have received a rating of ‘3’ or above.

Check the black and green sticker

As workplaces across the country start thinking about venues for this year’s Christmas party we are encouraging organisers to check the food hygiene ratings of restaurants on our website www.food.gov.uk/ratings or if you’re out and about, check for the green and black sticker, which should be clearly displayed at the entrance. Food businesses are also obliged to tell you their rating if you ask them.

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. It’s mandatory for businesses to display it on their premises so it couldn’t be easier. We recommend food businesses with at least a food hygiene rating of ‘3’ and most are achieving this in Wales. There are plenty of potential regrets at the work Christmas party, but you can help to ensure food poisoning isn’t one of them.” 

How does the scheme work?

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

Each business is given their food hygiene rating when it is inspected by a food safety officer of the local authority where the business is based. They 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 premises – the cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation, pest control and other facilities;
  • and how the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe.

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. Whereas a ‘0’ rating means ‘Urgent Improvement Necessary’. Any business should be able to reach this top rating.

Benefits for business

A higher rating can bring huge benefits to any food business: a sticker in the window or badge online will reassure your existing customers and help attract new ones.

Businesses with higher food hygiene ratings agree that it helps bring more customers through the door. Our research has shown that more than a third of food businesses displaying a ‘3’ to ‘5’ rating say it has boosted business.

Businesses can find out more at http://www.food.gov.uk/business-industry/caterers/hygieneratings