The people who protect your plate in Blackburn and Darwen

Published Monday 4 June 2018 at 15:29

The UK is a nation of foodies but people often take the safety of what they eat and drink for granted – especially when out and about.

That’s why Blackburn with Darwen Council is joining with the Food Standards Agency to support National Food Safety Week (June 4 to 10).

The week is an opportunity to thank the council’s environmental health officers who inspect local food businesses to ensure hygiene standards are up to scratch.

The national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme covers businesses supplying or serving food direct to consumers such as restaurants, pubs, cafes, takeaways, food vans or stalls, canteens, hotels, supermarkets, schools, hospitals and care homes.

There are six hygiene ratings ranging from 0 (urgent improvement required) to 5 (very good) to help people choose where to eat.

Businesses are given green and black stickers with their rating to display at their premises. All ratings are also published online.

Of the 1,420 outlets covered by the scheme in Blackburn and Darwen, 92.6 per cent have a food hygiene rating of 3 (generally satisfactory) or above.

Premises which are found to be less than generally satisfactory are immediately brought up to scratch with the help of environmental health officers – who can close a business if it poses a risk to health. It is then up to a business to decide if it wants to apply to be re-rated immediately or wait until its next inspection.

Councillor Jim Smith, Executive Member for Environment at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said:

Our environmental health officers, whose other duties include dealing with food complaints and infectious diseases, work hard to ensure that food is safe so that residents and visitors can dine out with peace of mind.

I’d encourage people to check the food hygiene rating before going to a takeaway or restaurant and vote with their feet.

The borough also has the Recipe for Health scheme, where a range of caters including schools, nurseries, takeaways and restaurants are certified for providing healthier options on their menus.

Councillor Smith added:

This gives people the option to have food that is still tasty but has fewer calories and less fat, sugar and salt.

Angela Towers, head of the Food Hygiene Rating team at the Food Standards Agency, said:

Working in partnership with Blackburn with Darwen Council and its expert environmental health officers, we are dedicated to ensuring that people can trust that the food they buy and eat is safe and honest.

Our Food Hygiene Rating Scheme empowers the public to make informed decisions about where to buy and eat food. It’s also proved hugely effective in driving up standards in food businesses across the country.

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