Valentine’s Day Dining

Eating out, dining in on Valentine’s Day? Check out the Food Hygiene Rating before you book to avoid having food poisoning on the most romantic day of the year….

What about the Food Hygiene Rating? With the countdown to Valentine’s Day approaching us most people imagine flowers, cards, chocolates, champagne and a romantic date to remember. Love is all around us, it is the most romantic day of the year, it could be a Tinder date, a marriage proposal, booking into a hotel for room service or just a very special day with your date, so to celebrate most people mark Valentine’s day with a romantic meal.

Hotels, restaurants, takeaways will be falling over themselves to lure you in with their special offers and the supermarkets with their meal deals, the choice will be yours… whether you decide to book a swanky restaurant in town to impress your date, a cosy night in with a takeaway in front of the television or pull out all the stops and try your culinary cooking skills in your kitchen remember of all the things that can potentially go wrong on the night is getting food poisoning, which is certainly not romantic.

So before you book your table for two or order in your takeaway check out the Food Standards Agency for the latest Food Hygiene Rating, it could save your romance ending in disaster if you or your date end up in the toilet having symptoms of food poisoning which is one of the worst things to happen to a couple, you want that special moment to be a night to remember for the right reasons.

As a Food Hygiene Expert for BBC 1 Watchdog, ITV, Channel 4, a Guest Speaker for the Guardian Newspaper and BBC Radio I know a thing or two about the Food Safety, Food Poisoning and the Food Hygiene Rating after many years of working as a chef in the hospitality industry. I have seen a lot behind the scenes of food businesses that I could tell you many horror stories or share with you some of the best hygienic places to eat in the UK after especially going undercover with a camera as a food hygiene detective in holiday resorts, hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and takeaways, there are so many places I would never eat in because of how poor the food hygiene is in the kitchen, a place where the customer does not see.

Don’t always assume if a place is packed out with diners or the food menu looks good that food hygiene is perfect, sometimes it is not. I always inform people about The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, download the app straight onto your phone because you can relax knowing if a place has a high rating then all the areas you cannot see have been checked out by the local food inspector.

Food Standards Agency RatingsMy role as a Food Hygiene Expert is to constantly work with my clients to improve or sustain a 5 Star Food Hygiene Rating through AuditingTraining and their food safety management systems HACCP as it does not matter how exclusive the restaurant is, how delicious the food tastes or the ambience of the food business, if the hygiene is not correct the business will receive a low score, a poor rating can have a huge impact and turn customers away. But if the business is displaying their sticker with a 4 or 5-star rating you can trust them that the place is safe to eat and that you will not get food poisoning.

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) is run by The Food Standards Agency It operates in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and is dedicated to assessing the hygiene standards of hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, bars, pubs, cafes, takeaways or anywhere else you can buy and eat food. It is about making sure food is safe for you to eat.

The Food Standards Agency rates food businesses through three elements:

  1. Hygiene – how hygienically the food is handled, how it is prepared, cooked, cooled, reheated, hot held and stored in a fridge, freezer or dry stores.
  2. Structure – assess the building, cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation, pest control, toilets and facilities.
  3. Management – how the business manages what it does to make sure food is safe from fark to fork, so where is comes from, all the stages involved before it ends up on your plate to eat and to ensure all records are in place like; training, cleaning and temperature records.

To receive a 5 star rating, food businesses must do well in all three elements, it about food safety and not the quality of the food. The Environmental Health Officer will give the food business a score ranging from 0-5 with a 5 rating meaning very good food hygiene standards. Over 90% of food businesses are rated a 3 or higher, which means there are plenty of places with good standards to choose from.

So download the app on your phone, look before you book and enjoy your meal on Valentine’s day…!

Food Hygiene Ratings