By Cheshire East Council - 14th April 2012 7:01am
Cheshire East Council has introduced a new Food Hygiene Rating Scheme that aims to help residents choose where to eat and encourage food businesses to improve standards.
The Council has signed up to the national scheme in partnership with the Food Standards Agency.
It will ultimately see every business in the Borough that sells food to the public rated on a scale from zero to five. The ratings will be available to view on the following website: www.food.gov.uk/ratings
The ratings of just under 1,600 businesses will go live on the website on April 30th.
This first group includes food businesses, where you would expect to buy and consume food on the premises, including pubs, cafes and restaurants.
The remaining food businesses in Cheshire East will join the scheme on a rolling programme over the next few months.
Star ratings are calculated from inspections, with the frequency of inspection linked to the risk and complexity of food handling activities. This ranges from a frequency of once every six months to once every three years.
The three scoring areas used for the rating scheme are:
* How hygienically the food is handled — how it's prepared, cooked, cooled and stored;
* The condition of the structure of the building — the cleanliness, lighting, layout and ventilation;
* How the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe.
All of the businesses are being written to, informing them of their rating, and they have also been sent a certificate and a window sticker, which they can display. They have 14 days to query the rating.
Councillor Rachel Bailey, Cabinet member with responsibility for safer and stronger communities, said: "This new food hygiene system will let Cheshire East residents make an informed choice about where they go to eat out or shop for food. A high rating will also act as a good advertisement for the business and reassure customers.
"The scheme will also help our officers in their work of improving food hygiene standards. It will highlight which premises need our attention and assistance moving forward.
"The initial inspections show that nearly 70 per cent of our businesses achieved the top two ratings and we will seek to build on these impressive figures over the coming months."
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