Food hygiene scheme reaches first birthday

Horsham District Council's Food rating logo

Horsham District Council's Food rating logo

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THE NATIONAL Food Hygiene Rating Scheme has been running in the Horsham District now for one year.

The scheme gives the public a clear score of how clean, safe and hygienic food establishments are.

Since the scheme came into effect in April 2011, people in the Horsham District now have better information about where to eat or buy food from.

When customers expect to see a rating there is a real incentive for food businesses to seek to make improvements to their hygiene standards.

The scheme, which is overseen locally by Horsham District Council, covers approximately 1,000 food businesses in the 205 square miles of the Horsham District - including restaurants, cafes, takeaways, caterers, pubs, hotels, supermarkets and other retail food outlets.

It was envisaged at the launch that 1,000 eligible local food businesses would be fully rated within the first 18 months and 500 of these have now been rated 12 months in to the scheme.

Food hygiene ratings are scored on a six point scale from zero (urgent improvement necessary) to five (very good).

To ensure fairness to all local food businesses, the council notified each food business of the scheme in advance of its start date in 2011 with practical advice about how to obtain a high rating.

Every eligible food business inspected since 1 December 2010 has been rated and as of 1 February 2012 almost 500 local businesses have been invited to display their scores, whilst the information is fully available on the council’s website.

The ratings are based upon food hygiene inspections carried out by the council and take into account:

- Food hygiene and safety - arrangements for food preparation, cooking, reheating, cooling, storage and preventing cross contamination

- Structure and cleaning - cleanliness, layout, condition, lighting and ventilation

- Confidence in management - how food safety is managed and documented

Speaking about the scheme, HDC cabinet member for a safer and healthier district, Sue Rogers (Con, Steyning) said: “This is a scheme from which we all benefit.

“Not only does it allow consumers to buy with confidence, but it gives businesses an incentive to achieve excellence and high scores can be a way of helping them flourish.”

Further information is available on the food safety pages of Horsham District Council’s website www.horsham.gov.uk/health/12966.aspx or by call on 01403 215421.