District council taking steps to cut food poisoning

WITH one million people suffering from food poisoning every year, a district council is taking steps to make sure customers are well informed when eating out.

Braintree District Council is switching to a new way of displaying the hygiene standards to consumers. The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) will be run across the district from today (April 12).

This national scheme, developed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) provides information on food hygiene standards to help people to choose where to eat out or shop for food.

The FSA’s aim in developing the new scheme is to reduce the number of people suffering from food poisoning. The ratings will give consumers a glimpse of what is going on in the kitchen when they eat out, or behind the scenes at the places they shop, before they make their decision about which place they prefer to visit.

The new scheme will build on the success of the ‘Scores on the Doors’ scheme that BDC has been running.

Cllr Wendy Schmitt, cabinet member for the environment said: “We have opted to change to the FHRS as we can see the benefits for food businesses and, residents and visitors who are shopping and eating out.”

Food outlets are inspected by food safety officers from the council to check that their hygiene standards meet legal requirements. These ratings will be available for anyone to view on the FSA website: food.gov.uk/ratings

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Catriona Stewart, head of the food hygiene ratings team at the FSA said: “We recognise the real progress that has been made in improving hygiene standards in food outlets through food hygiene rating schemes.

“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 Braintree District Council has switched to the new national scheme.”