'Look before you book' this Christmas, says Food Standards Agency

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is calling on people to check the food hygiene ratings of restaurants before booking Christmas meals out with family and friends. A poll released today found that almost half of the UK public (46%) never check food hygiene ratings of places they plan to eat in.

We are urging everybody to look before they book if planning that special Christmas meal.

This is despite 34% of people reporting that they had a bad experience when eating out and suspecting they contracted food poisoning from a restaurant or takeaway.

The findings of the FSA poll released this week show one in five people (20%) plan to book their festive meals over the next fortnight.

Over half (51%) say they will be responsible for booking a meal for family and friends this Christmas, with meal planners’ biggest worries being that the food won’t be enjoyable (25%). However, only 3% of people reported that restaurants’ food hygiene standards were their main concern.

Catriona Stewart Head of the Food Hygiene Ratings Scheme, said: 'Nobody wants the embarrassment of booking a Christmas meal that is less than perfect. The people we spoke to through our poll spend a lot of time and effort planning festive meals to make sure their family and friends have a good time, yet very few make food hygiene a top priority.

'We are urging everybody to look before they book if planning that special Christmas meal. It’s quick and easy to check a restaurant’s food hygiene rating online – just go to the FSA website: www.food.gov.uk/ratings. If you’re out and about, you can also check for the green and black ratings sticker on display and if you can’t see one just ask.'

Restaurants in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are given a ‘hygiene rating’, which shows how closely the business is meeting the requirements of food hygiene law. Ratings range from 0 being the worst to 5 being the best. These results are available on the FSA website but many restaurants also display a green and black ratings sticker in their window or door.

For more information or to check the food hygiene rating of your local restaurant, takeaway or café visit: www.food.gov.uk/ratings.

Ref: www.food.gov.uk/ratings.

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