More than 90 per cent of food businesses in the Newtownabbey area have a food hygiene rating of three or above.
That’s according to figures supplied by Newtownabbey Borough Council and the Food Standards Agency, which also reveal that nine per cent of food businesses in the borough don’t meet the ‘generally satisfactory’ hygiene standard.
Figures include not only restaurants and take-aways, but also other places where food is prepared and/or served such as retail businesses, schools, social clubs and care homes.
The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme provides invaluable access to information about what goes on behind-the-scenes in all food businesses to check that food is prepared hygienically and safely. The scheme allows people to check the hygiene rating of a business and, if necessary, decide whether or not they’d rather switch to an eatery with a higher rating.
The scheme, which is operated by Newtownabbey Council, rates food businesses on a scale of zero to five, with zero meaning ‘urgent improvement necessary’ and the top rating of five representing a ‘very good’ standard of food hygiene. Those businesses with a rating of zero, one or two have hygiene standards below that expected by food law.
Consumers in Newtownabbey can look out for the green and black food hygiene rating stickers which should be displayed on windows and doors to find out the rating of any food business in the area. If there’s no sign of a sticker, then customers can ask the proprietor or check online at food.gov.uk/ratings to make sure the business doesn’t have a low rating.
Colin Kelly, Principal Environmental Health Officer at Newtownabbey Council, commented: “The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is a fantastic tool for all consumers in Newtownabbey to find out the hygiene standards of the food businesses in the area. Most people would like to think that the kitchens and food preparation areas in the places they buy food from are clean and hygienic. The stickers make it easy for everyone to check a rating and if it is below three you should consider switching your choice rather than eat somewhere with a low hygiene rating. Our aim is to drive up standards so that all food businesses in the area have a rating of three or above.”
People can go online and check out the food hygiene rating of their favourite local eateries at food.gov.uk/ratings