Hygiene scores in Mid and East Antrim’s eateries

People are urged to check eateries' food hygiene ratings before dining (file photo).

People are urged to check eateries' food hygiene ratings before dining (file photo).

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Some 88 percent of food premises in Mid and East Antrim have scored either four or five stars in the Food Hygiene Ratings Scheme (FHRS).

Run by the local government authority in partnership with the Food Standards Agency, the scheme provides ratings for restaurants, pubs, cafes, takeaways, hotels, supermarkets and other food shops.

Over two thirds (67 percent) of food premises in the council area gained a five star or ‘very good’ rating, equating to 655 businesses.

Meanwhile, 203 premises (21 percent) achieved a four star or ‘good’ rating.

A three star rating was given to 75 premises (eight percent), with 17 premises scoring two stars (two percent).

Only 18 premises across the council area scored one star, while no premises were given the lowest rating of zero, which denotes ‘urgent improvement necessary’.

The score is based on three key elements which are assessed by Environmental Health Officers when they are carrying out routine food hygiene inspections.

The three elements are standards of hygiene, structure of the premises and confidence in the management of the business.

The scheme has been run by every council in Northern Ireland since July 2013 and replaced similar schemes such as Scores on the Doors.

In November 2013, Wales became the first region to make it mandatory for every premise to display a sticker with their FHRS rating.

Legislation introducing a similar requirement in Northern Ireland is currently in its final stages at the Assembly.

During last Monday night’s meeting of MEA Council’s Operational Committee, a members’ report noted the “high standard of ratings in food businesses across [the council area]”.

“The current high level of ratings (88 percent within the top two ratings) demonstrates the commitment of both the food businesses and Environmental Health officers within Mid and East Antrim to achieving high standards. High ratings help businesses to attract customers into their premises and increase footfall within the borough,” the report added.

The rating for each premise is available on the Food Standards Agency website www.food.gov.uk/ratings