Consumers can check hygiene standards at food outlets in Swindon even faster thanks to a new app from the Food Standards Agency.
The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) came into force in Swindon earlier this year, replacing the former Scores on the Doors ratings system.
The national scheme, developed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in partnership with local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, provides information on food hygiene standards to help people to choose where to eat out or shop for food.
Food outlets, such as restaurants, takeaways and pubs, are inspected by food safety officers from Swindon Borough Council, to check that their hygiene standards meet legal requirements.
The hygiene standards found at these inspections are rated on a scale ranging from zero at the bottom (which means ‘urgent improvement necessary’) to a top rating of five (‘very good’).
Now people can search for food outlets by using a new app which takes consumers straight to the FHRS database.
The ratings and the downloadable app are available for anyone to view on the FSA website atwww.food.gov.uk/ratings. Food businesses are given a sticker and certificate and encouraged to display these at the entrance to their premises. This is so that their customers can easily see them and decide if they want to go in.
Around one million people suffer from food poisoning every year, and the FSA’s aim in developing the FHRS is to reduce this number by giving consumers an indication of hygiene standards before they decide which place to visit.
Cllr Vera Tomlinson, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for a Safer, Stronger Borough, said: “We would always encourage people to check the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme so I’m delighted this new app has been developed to make it even easier.
“The database is a useful tool for helping people to choose which food outlets to visit and also helping to drive up food hygiene standards in the industry. We want to get the message out to companies in Swindon that having a good hygiene rating is good news for their business.”