"Look Before You Book" Festive Food Advice
Published Tuesday 11th December 12
Ribble Valley residents are being advised "look before you book" and not let food poisoning ruin their festive celebrations.
All food premises in Ribble Valley, including restaurants, cafes, takeaways, sandwich shops, food retailers and supermarkets, have star ratings from five to zero for food hygiene, which are displayed prominently in their premises.
The outlets are assessed on a wide range of criteria, such as the preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage of food, as well as effective pest control and waste disposal; whether employees are suitably supervised, instructed or trained in food hygiene; and the premises in a good state of repair.
The scheme, called the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, enables consumers to make informed choices about where they buy or consume food.
Ribble Valley Borough Council's environmental health manager, James Russell, said: "Consumers spend a significant amount of money on food during the festive season and this scheme enables them to know how a food outlet is performing against required standards of hygiene, and therefore make informed choices about where they buy or consume food.
"One thing guaranteed to ruin Christmas is food poisoning, so if you're organising a festive gathering at a local hostelry or restaurant don't just examine the menu check what their hygiene rating is, too."
Catriona Stewart, head of the food hygiene ratings team at the Food Standards Agency, added: "No-one wants to gamble with their health when eating out, particularly when celebrating a special festive meal.
"Ribble Valley Borough Council has worked with the agency to successfully roll-out the scheme, which helps people choose where to eat.
"The aim of the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is to reduce the one million cases of food poisoning suffered by people in the UK each year."