Eating out at Christmas is a great way to celebrate the season, be it with family, friends or work colleagues.
However, Croydon Council’s food safety team is urging you to do a little simple homework in the early stages of planning that special meal; homework that might spare you a nasty bout of illness.
The festive season is a time to enjoy good company and good food without worrying about food poisoning. But the truth is, you can’t tell a restaurant’s hygiene standards by how clean and tidy the staff look, nor by how busy the place is.
It is the things that can’t be seen – like germs spread by bad hygiene practices – that you need to consider. There is one easy way to set your mind at rest, and that is to check the food hygiene rating.
The food hygiene rating tells you about standards in restaurants and other food businesses. Checking could not be easier; just go to the Food Standards Agency website at www.food.gov.uk/ratings or, if you’re out and about, check for the green and black sticker in the front window; if you can’t see one, just ask.
The ratings are determined by the council’s food safety officers and run from 0 to 5, with a 5 rating indicating a very good level of food hygiene and safety. In Croydon, 79% of food businesses are rated 3 or better, so there are plenty of places with good standards, and those not meeting the grade are easily avoided.
If a green and black sticker is not displayed in the window, or a low rating is shown online, a better-informed choice can be made.
Councillor Mark Watson, cabinet member for communities, safety and justice
“People in Croydon can easily check hygiene ratings online and use that information to choose a restaurant for their Christmas parties that takes food hygiene and safety seriously.
“Christmas is an important time for local businesses. A good food hygiene rating is something to be proud of, and the great majority of Croydon restaurants have a rating of 3 or above.
“Feedback tells us that a clear display of the hygiene rating sticker matters to customers, so we’re encouraging local food businesses to display their rating and have a prosperous Christmas season.”
For more information, visit www.food.gov.uk/business-industry/caterers/hygieneratings