Eateries get rating system for hygiene
A new national scheme aimed at giving customers an at-a-glance rating of the hygiene standards where they are eating has been launched.
The National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme gives a clear zero-to-five rating on a distinctive bright green and black sticker displayed in a premises' window, which is awarded according to the results of the outlet's most recent inspection.
It was launched at an event in Cornwall at the famous Jamaica Inn, a five-star establishment, where Catriona Stewart, head of the food hygiene ratings team at the Food Standards Authority, said it was good news for consumers.
"We recognise the real progress that has been made in improving hygiene standards in food outlets through local food hygiene rating schemes," she said.
"But having a single nationwide scheme will mean a level playing field for businesses across the country, and consumers will be able to recognise and use the ratings in their own area, as well as further from home.
"So it's great news that Cornwall Council is bringing in the new national scheme."
Lance Kennedy, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for community safety and public protection, said the scheme would act as an incentive for businesses.
"In these difficult trading conditions, tourists and residents demand the highest standards. These awards demonstrate those standards and encourage customers."
Eddie Stanton, from The Pickwick Inn, St Issey, another five-star-rated establishment, said: "This award scheme is a marvellous vehicle for lifting standards in the catering industry."
Meanwhile, it's high fives all round for nearly 200 food outlets across Torbay.
They have been awarded the top rating under the same scheme rolled out across the bay last year.
Distinctive green and black ratings have now become a common sight among the area's businesses, usually displayed on doors or windows.
Councillor Robert Excell, Torbay Council's executive lead for safer communities and transport, said: "The scheme has clearly given customers some food for thought and establishments have seen noticeable effects because of their ratings. The council joined the scheme as we can see the benefits for local food businesses and the people who eat and shop in them. The public can use the ratings when deciding which outlets to visit and it is also giving businesses an incentive to improve and maintain high standards in food hygiene.
"Congratulations go to all those businesses that have shown their commitment to high standards in food safety by gaining a top hygiene rating of five. They have recognised that displaying a good hygiene rating is good for business."