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With approximately 1 million cases of food poisoning a year in the UK how can the consumer try and minimise the risk to their health from this, at best unpleasant, at worst fatal, illness?

In 2012 the Food Standards Agency, in partnership with local authorities, introduced the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and the Food Hygiene Information Scheme in Scotland.

It’s not easy to judge hygiene standards on appearance alone, so the rating gives you an idea of what’s going on in the kitchen, or behind closed doors. You can check the ratings and use the information to switch to or choose a place with higher standards. It’s also good to share this information with friends and family

Businesses in England do not have to display their rating. So if you see a business without a hygiene rating sticker or certificate, you’ll have to decide if you want to eat or buy food from there without knowing the hygiene standards.

Whether you’re eating out or ordering in, you can check the food hygiene rating of the food outlet by:

Of course a good Food Hygiene Rating score does not guarantee good quality food – that is where personal recommendation from friends and family does play a part.

Nigel Braybrooke, Food Safety Advisor