FSA Urges People To 'Look Before They Book'

Food Hygiene Should Be A Priority This Christmas, Says FSA


People arranging Christmas meals with family, friends and work colleagues have been urged by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to check the hygiene ratings of restaurants before they make a booking.

A recent poll by the FSA revealed that almost half of the UK public (46 per cent) never check the hygiene ratings of the establishments where they eat - even though a third (34 per cent) said they have experienced ill effects from restaurants and takeaways.

All restaurants in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are given a hygiene rating from zero to five by the FSA. In Wales, it is compulsory for restaurants to display their hygiene rating, although this is not the case in the rest of the UK.

However, customers can check an establishment's rating on the FSA website, or by asking the restaurant staff.

"The people we spoke to through our poll spend a lot of time and effort planning festive meals to make sure their family and friends have a good time, yet very few make food hygiene a top priority," said Catriona Stewart, head of the Food Hygiene Ratings Scheme.

"We are urging everybody to look before they book if planning that special Christmas meal."

Expert Opinion
Our work on behalf of victims of illness outbreaks both in the UK and abroad means we have seen on numerous occasions how food poisoning can have significant consequences, with those affected often going on to develop long-term health conditions which can lead to major disruption to their personal and working lives.

"Christmas is a time for celebration and to get together with friends and family and it is welcome to see the FSA take steps to raise awareness of the importance of tacking care when planning meals out.

"Not only does displaying hygiene ratings allow consumers to make informed decisions, it also means that restaurants recognise the importance of always meeting the required standards."
Amandeep Dhillon, Partner