How clean is that eatery?

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ANYONE eating out or buying food will soon have a new way of finding out whether a restaurant, takeaway or food shop has good hygiene standards.

Fenland District Council is switching to the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) from November 2.

The new scheme will build on the success of the Scores on the Doors scheme that has been running in the district since 2008. It will enable consumers to compare standards not only within Fenland, but across the whole country, as well as allowing top performing businesses to publicise their successes.

The FHRS has been developed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in partnership with local authorities and food businesses across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The aim is to identify premises with good hygiene and promote these food establishments. This will give customers an informed choice of where to shop and eat.

All food outlets, including restaurants, takeaways, pubs and mobile vendors will be covered by the scheme. Food safety officers from FDC will give each business a rating on a scale ranging from zero (meaning “urgent improvement necessary”) to five (‘very good’).

Each business will be given a sticker and certificate which it can display at the entrance to its premises. The ratings will be available for anyone to view on FDC’s website at www.fenland.gov.uk and the FSA website at www.food.gov.uk/ratings.

Councillor Peter Murphy, FDC’s portfolio holder responsible for environmental health, said: “Local businesses have made excellent progress in improving food hygiene standards over the past three years through the Scores on the Doors scheme. Moving on to the FHRS will bring more real benefits both for businesses and consumers.

“It will make it easier for consumers to compare standards wherever they are in the country. Over the past few weeks we have been working with local businesses to explain the new scheme. We hope that they will recognise that being able to display a good rating is very good for business.”