13/11/17: Look before you book your Christmas meal, residents urged

Food HygieneWith just six weeks until Christmas, thoughts are turning to getting festive meals booked up to celebrate with colleagues, friends or family. Before settling on the perfect place, Breckland Council is urging residents to 'look before you book' in order to avoid poor food hygiene spoiling the party.

Breckland Council's food safety officers regularly carry out unannounced inspections at local food businesses - including restaurants, cafes, takeaways and food shops - and manage the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) across the district, in partnership with the Food Standards Agency. Officers are reminding residents to look up their favourite restaurant before making a booking for Christmas to make sure they are satisfied that the business has good food hygiene regimes in place.

There are currently (November 2017) 1,147 food businesses in Breckland which have achieved a 'satisfactory' or higher food hygiene score (3, 4, or 5 rating) - and this means the number of businesses with top-ranked Food Hygiene Ratings in Breckland remains at an all-time high. The latest figures show that 97% of the district's food businesses have 5, 4 and 3 ratings, while there are no businesses with the lowest ranking of zero.

Businesses are given a green and black sticker to display their rating for customers to see and Breckland Council's Food, Health and Safety Team works closely with businesses to help them address any areas for improvement.

Cllr Alison Webb, Executive Member for People and Information, said: "The fact that our district consistently has such high ratings is great news for residents and testament to our Food, Health and Safety Team's dedicated work to monitor standards and advise on the highest possible food hygiene practices. With so many restaurants to choose from that take food safety seriously, there's no need to risk food poisoning over the festive season, so have a look at the ratings before booking your meal - and if you are a business, make sure you display your rating with pride and have a very prosperous Christmas season."

People can check scores in the district by searching 'Food Hygiene Rating Scheme' on our website. You can also looking for the green and black ratings sticker in the window of shops and restaurants or go to Food hygiene ratings.

Current Food Hygiene Ratings in Breckland:

  • 823 (69.5%) are rated 5 = very good
  • 242 (20.5%) are rated 4 = good
  • 82 (7%) are rated 3 = satisfactory
  • 4 are rated 2 = improvement necessary
  • 36 are rated 1 = major improvement necessary
  • 0 are rated zero (urgent improvement necessary)

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is not an indication of the quality or taste of meals being served. Breckland Council checks 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.