Ensuring high standards

FOOD businesses across the county will no longer have their Scores on the Doors in the move to a new national hygiene scheme.

The local programme enabled officers to rate the standards of traders, but now Northumberland County Council’s Public Protection Service will be using the Food Hygiene Rating System instead.

It has been developed by the Food Standards Agency in partnership with local authorities and will provide information on the cleanliness of shops, takeaways, cafes, pubs and restaurants, as well as how staff prepare the food.

The outlets will continue to be inspected by food safety officers from the council to check that standards meet legal requirements.

They will be rated on a scale ranging from zero, meaning urgent improvement is necessary, to five, very good. Business and Consumer Protection Manager Jimmy Power said: “Our own food hygiene scheme has been successful, but there are definite benefits to joining the national Food Hygiene Rating System.

“Not only will the public be able to use the information when deciding which restaurants or takeaways to visit, but we hope that food outlets will recognise that displaying a good hygiene rating is good for business.”

The ratings will be available to view at www.food.gov.uk/ratings

Each business will be encouraged to display them at the entrance to their premises.