Look before you book that Valentine’s meal

Thinking of taking your loved one out for a special meal on St Valentine's Day?

If you're planning that special meal, make sure you don't end up with more than you bargained for - with a very unromantic 'gippy' tummy! South Somerset District Council's food safety team would like to remind you to 'look before you book'.

St Valentine's Day is one of the most popular times for going out for a meal - to time to enjoy good company and good food without worrying about food poisoning. But the truth is, you can't tell a restaurant's hygiene standards by how clean and tidy the staff look or by how busy it is.

It's the things you can't see - like germs spread by bad hygiene practices - that you need to consider. There's one easy way to set your mind at rest - check the food hygiene rating.  The food hygiene rating tells you about hygiene standards in restaurants and other food businesses. It's really easy to check. Just go online and check the Food Standards Agency website: www.food.gov.uk/ratings or if you're out and about check for the green and black sticker; if you can't see one, just ask.

Councillor Carol Goodall, Portfolio Holder for Environmental Health said, "Make sure you check the hygiene ratings online or in the restaurant window and choose a restaurant that takes food hygiene seriously. This is also an important time for local food businesses as a good food hygiene rating is something to be proud of. It matters to customers so we are encouraging all businesses in South Somerset to display their rating".

The ratings are determined by local authority food safety officers and run from 0-5, with a 5 rating meaning a very good level of food hygiene. Around 95% of food businesses are rated 3 or better so there are plenty of places with good standards and you can easily avoid taking your family to those not meeting the grade. If you don't see a green and black sticker in the window or you spot a low rating online, you can make a better informed choice.

For more information, visit www.food.gov.uk/business-industry/caterers/hygieneratings.

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Date Released: 31 January 2017