Be careful where you choose to eat

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Thinking of eating out this Christmas? If you’re planning a special Christmas meal with colleagues, friends or family the Food Standards Agency remind you to ‘look before you book.’

Christmas is a time to enjoy good company and good food without worrying about food poisoning. The truth is, the Agency says, that you can’t tell a restaurant’s hygiene standards by how clean and tidy staff look or by how busy it is.

Things that can’t be seen like germs spread by bad hygiene practices that should be considered. To set your mind at rest – check the food hygiene rating. This tells about hygiene standards in restaurants and other food businesses. Check online at the Food Standards Agency website: www.food.gov.uk/ratings or if you’re out and about check for a green and black sticker; if you can’t see one, ask. At present there are 13 food businesses in Wealden which only have a one star rating.

Ratings are determined by local authority food safety officers and run from 0-5. A 5 rating showing a very good level of hygiene. Ninety-three per cent of food businesses are rated 3 or better so there are many places with good standards. If you don’t see a green and black sticker in the window or spot a low rating online, you can make a more informed choice.

Richard Parker-Harding, head of Rother and Wealden’s environmental health said: “It’s easy for people to check ratings online and choose a restaurant that takes food hygiene seriously. This is an important time for local businesses. A good food hygiene rating is something to be proud of.”