DINERS are being advised to check out the hygiene rating for their local food outlet.
The “Scores on the Doors” scheme is proving extremely popular across Kirklees and is due to be promoted still further, with a series of talks by environmental health staff in the coming weeks.
The ratings grade food establishments from five stars down to zero.
Food safety officers from Kirklees Council have been inspecting what goes on behind the scenes in the kitchens of over 1,000 Huddersfield food establishments.
And now the Examiner is publishing a handy directory of results for its readers – with a list of scores from cafes, restaurants and pubs to nursing homes and school kitchens.
All scores are taken from the official Kirklees Council Scores on the Doors website and are the results of the latest inspections for each of the outlets. (Early December 2010)
Outlets given five stars are rated ‘excellent’, four stars ‘very good’ three stars ‘good’, two stars ‘fair’, one star ‘poor’ and zero stars ‘very poor’.
Twenty food establishments in Huddersfield are rated zero – falling well below the expected hygiene standards.
And food safety officers regard any establishment falling below a two star rating as failing to comply with the authority’s minimum hygiene standards.
Clr Mary Harkin, Cabinet member for food safety, said many people will be shocked to see some of the more ‘reputable’ businesses with low star ratings.
She said: “Food businesses are awarded a certificate to display once they have received their star rating.
“Displaying this certificate is optional and many of the lower-rated businesses fail to display this for obvious reasons.”
Clr Harkin advised diners to check out hygiene ratings before choosing a restaurant, adding: “Remember – Before you fork out, check it out.”
Kirklees Council report that each year there are some 600 cases of food-related illnesses reported locally.
They can all be caused by not following simple food safety practices like hand-washing, de-frosting, cooking and re-heating and following food use-by dates.
The results can be salmonella, listeriosis and E-coli. Symptoms range from being flu-like to vomiting and fever and can put the elderly and very young at risk.
There are rare occasions when conditions are so poor that an establishment has to be closed to protect public safety.
Enforcement action is taken if necessary and this can range from an informal written warning, or serving a legal notice, to prohibiting the proprietor from trading until the risk is removed, or even prosecution.
Successful prosecutions can lead to hefty fines, permanent closure of businesses and a ban on proprietors operating food businesses in future years.
However, food safety officers say education is always the preferred approach to enforcement.
Scores on the Doors is a national scheme used by 124 local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Kirklees food safety officers have launched a campaign spreading the message about the benefits of the Scores on the Doors scheme.
They will be visiting more than 25 four and five-star-rated food premises over the next few weeks to talk to people and give out information about the scheme.
The Food Safety Team can provide a wide range of advice for anyone wishing to learn more.
For more information contact Kirklees Food Safety Team on 01484 226253.
Ratings list starts on next page.