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A vital ingredient for Valentine's Day

Couples looking forward to a romantic Valentine's Day meal out or a candle-lit takeaway at home may not include Food Hygiene Ratings in their plans, but they are a crucial ingredient in the recipe for a perfect evening, says South Holland District Council's Food, Health & Safety Team.

Cllr Malcolm Chandler

Restaurants and takeaways are given ratings from 0 to 5 after being assessed by council officers for the National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, and diners should be on the look-out for ratings of 3-5 to be sure that the venue they choose has proper food hygiene procedures in place.

Cllr Malcolm Chandler, portfolio holder for Food, Health & Safety, said: "The scheme makes it easier for everyone to find somewhere for their romantic meal where food hygiene is taken seriously. For local restaurants, cafes, takeaways and pubs, a 'good' rating is good for business during this busy time.

"Diners should look for the green and black food hygiene stickers displayed on windows and doors. If you can't see a sticker, then ask staff or check online at"

Since the launch of the scheme, the council has applied a combination of coaching, education and enforcement to help drive up standards and support local businesses whose ratings were between 0 and 2.

Cllr Chandler added that hygiene standards had risen in the district as a result: "Around 97 per cent of the district's restaurants and takeaways are now in categories 3-5, so it is a very high proportion.

"We've seen the benefits of the scheme and we do see premises actively wanting to get a 5 rating during inspections.

"Some are devastated if they don't get it and will reach for that standard next time, so it's very worthwhile."

 The National Food Hygiene Ratings cover:

  • how hygienically the food is handled - how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored;
  • the condition of the structure of the buildings - cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities;
  • how the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe.
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