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Gloucestershire Business News

Don't let poor food hygiene ruin your staff Christmas meal

Councils are urging businesses to check the hygiene ratings of restaurants before booking them for staff Christmas meals.

Forest of Dean and Cotswold District Councils say a good rating is just as important as choosing the menu and festive wine.

They recommend that when eating out this Christmas you should select one of the eateries with a rating of 3 or more.

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme rates food businesses on their hygiene standards, based on inspections carried out by Environmental Regulatory Services (ERS) officers on behalf of the District Council.

Businesses in the area are rated on a scale ranging from 0 (urgent improvement necessary) to a top rating of 5 (very good).

Some 93 per cent of food businesses included in the scheme in the Forest of Dean have a food hygiene rating of 3 or above and 69 per cent have achieved the highest rating of 5 - Very Good. Just five per cent of Forest businesses are rated at 2 or below.

The food hygiene rating for eateries can be checked at www.food.gov.uk/ratings

Nina Purcell, director of local delivery at the Food Standards Agency said: "You need to consider a lot of things when picking the perfect venue for your Christmas party, but please don't forget about the food hygiene rating.

"It's very easy to check on our website or just ask the business. We recommend food businesses with at least a '3' and most food businesses are achieving this. There are plenty of potential regrets at the work Christmas party, but you can help to ensure food poisoning isn't one of them."

Cllr Chris McFarling, Forest of Dean cabinet member for the environment added: "We have a huge selection of excellent food businesses in the district and with the majority of them rated three or above under the food hygiene rating scheme, it makes it easier to choose to eat out in places where food hygiene is taken seriously, so there is no need to risk food poisoning while eating out this Christmas.

"For food businesses a higher rating can bring huge benefits. A sticker in the window or an online check will reassure your existing customers and help win new ones. A good rating will be great for business during the festive season and will help to encourage more customers through the door."

Over 96 per cent of food businesses included in the scheme within Cotswold District have a food hygiene rating of 3 or above. More than 65 per cent have achieved the highest rating of 5, and less than four per cent are rated at 2 or below.

Cllr Sue Coakley, Cotswold District Council's cabinet member for the environment said: "We are well blessed with an impressive range of excellent food businesses in the Cotswolds and the vast majority are rated 3 or above under the food hygiene rating scheme. This makes it easy to choose an establishment that takes food hygiene seriously. Food poisoning is the last thing anyone wants as an unexpected Christmas present - or at any time of the year."

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