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Lib Dems welcome new display for hygiene standards when eating out in Wiltshire

October 30, 2011 4:53 PM

Lib Dems in Wiltshire have welcomed the news that Wiltshire Council has agreed to join the national scheme run by the Food Standards Agency for measuring hygiene standards in food outlets.

This national scheme, developed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in partnership with local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, provides information on food hygiene standards to help people to choose where to eat out or shop for food. The new scheme will build on the success of the Food Hygiene Star Rating scheme that Wiltshire Council has been running.

Food outlets, such as restaurants, takeaways and pubs, are inspected by food safety officers from Wiltshire Council, to check that their hygiene standards meet legal requirements. The hygiene standards found at these inspections are rated on a scale ranging from zero at the bottom (which means 'urgent improvement necessary') to a top rating of five ('very good').

These ratings will be available for anyone to view on the FSA website at food.gov.uk/ratings and the food business will be given a sticker and certificate and encouraged to display these at the entrance to their premises. This is so that their customers can easily see them and decide if they want to go in.

Around one million people suffer from food poisoning every year, and the FSA's aim in developing the FHRS is to reduce this number. The ratings will give consumers a glimpse of what is going on in the kitchen when they eat out, or behind the scenes at the places they shop, before they make their decision about which place they prefer to visit.

Group leader Jon Hubbardcommented: "I'm pleased that Wiltshire has decided to join this national scheme which will make it easier for all people, both local residents and vistors to our county, to identify the standard of hygiene assessed for food outlets.

"I'm equally delighted that we will be receiving financial support from the Governemnt to implement the scheme, although I'm not sure how far the Β£42,000 grant will actually go. Anything that improves health and wellbeing in our communities is always good new."