Look before you book this Christmas

November 3, 2017, 2:39 pm

If you are booking a restaurant for your work’s Christmas party this year, make sure you choose a venue that is taking food hygiene seriously. So “look before you book” this festive season and check the hygiene rating.

Make the right choice
There are plenty of restaurants to choose from 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. Our latest figures show that the percentage of food businesses in the UK achieving the highest rating of ‘5’ has risen from 53% in 2015 to 67% in 2017. They also show that here in Northern Ireland 99% of all food business have received a rating of at least a ‘3’.

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 ratings on our website www.food.gov.uk/ratings or if you’re out and about, check for the green and black sticker. Food businesses are also obliged to tell you their rating if you ask them.

Mark O’Neill, Senior Advisor FSA in Northern Ireland 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 at their premises so it couldn’t be easier. We recommend food businesses with at least a ‘3’ and the vast majority of food businesses in Northern Ireland are achieving this, so you can be sure to find a suitable venue to enjoy your night out.”

How does the scheme work?
The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is run by District Councils in Northern Ireland and applies to all food businesses including restaurants, pubs, and cafes.

Each business is given their hygiene rating when it is inspected by a food safety officer from the business’s District Council. 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 buildings – 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.

    Following an 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.

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 win 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.


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