Food Standards Agency urges you to ‘look before you book’ for Christmas

FSAThinking of eating out this Christmas?

If you’re planning that special Christmas meal with work colleagues, friends or family the Food Standards Agency would like to remind you to ‘look before you book’.

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

It’s the things you can’t see – like germs spread by bad hygiene practices – that you need to consider. There’s one easy way to set your mind at rest – check the food hygiene rating.

The food hygiene rating tells you about hygiene standards in restaurants and other food businesses. It’s really easy to check. Just go online and check the Food Standards Agency website: or if you’re out and about check for the green and black sticker; if you can’t see one, just ask.

The ratings are determined by local authority food safety officers and run from 0-5, with a 5 rating meaning a very good level of food hygiene. 93% of food businesses are rated 3 or better so there are plenty of places with good standards and you can easily avoid taking your family to those not meeting the grade. If you don’t see a green and black sticker in the window or you spot a low rating online, you can make a better informed choice.

Catherine Brown, Chief Executive, Food Standards Agency, agrees: “This Christmas, do this one little thing for peace of mind when eating out. Take a moment to check the food hygiene rating, pick the right place, and enjoy a great meal out.”

Councillor Peter Seib, Portfolio Holder for Regulatory and Democratic Services said, “I’m pleased that many food premises are highlighting their good score as part of the branding. One pub near me has had a huge “A-sign” made which they put out every day. Not seeing a green sign may indicate that the owner’s embarrassed over a “0” or a “1”. If you can’t see the ‘score on the door’ you can easily check on-line at”.