CABINET CALL: By South Holland District Coun Malcolm Chandler
You may have seen recently that the number of businesses with top-ranked Food Hygiene Ratings in the district has reached an all-time high. This is extremely pleasing and great news for people who love dining out.
I want to focus this column on the criteria behind the ratings, because I think there is an assumption that businesses can get high ratings by just being clean and not having any pests scurrying around.
However, the ratings aren’t just taking these factors into account – our officers are also judging practising procedures and the ability and knowledge of the staff.
For example we need to make sure that a business is cooking and cooling foods properly and keeping raw and cooked foods apart, because otherwise you will have contamination risks.
If there are no date coding systems and staff cannot demonstrate what they are doing, or are not sufficiently trained, then you have the potential for food poisoning.
So it is imperative that safe and hygienic procedures are in place and staff know exactly how to follow them.
The good news is that the vast majority of businesses in the district are following proper procedures and operating to a high standard.
Recent figures show that businesses in South Holland with 3 star (satisfactory) 4 star (good) and 5 star (very good) ratings is now 98.55%.
For businesses with low rankings, our Food, Health and Safety Team supports them to help them boost their ratings, with officers giving advice as well as coaching and a range of training courses.
The protection of the public is our highest priority and we will continue to work actively with businesses to assist them with standards.
In the meantime, please look out for Food Hygiene Ratings when you’re out and about.
To check the Food Hygiene Rating of a restaurant or takeaway, look for the green and black sticker, usually displayed in a window. If you can’t see one, just ask.
For those of you on Facebook, the council also regularly promotes the latest 5 rated businesses on its account. You can also visit www.sholland.gov.uk for more details.