Five star food!

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WHETHER you are eating out in St Helens, doing the weekly shop or just buying a sandwich you can be assured a high quality product.

St Helens Council has joined a new national food hygiene scheme which rates food providers on a score of 0-5.

Environmental health officers are inspecting food businesses to rate them on their hygiene standards.

From February 7 you can log on to www.food.gov.uk/rating to see the ratings of local food outlets.

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme’ was launched by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in November 2010 and replaces the former Scores on the Doors project in St Helens which was based on a regional model.

Councillor Alison Bacon, Cabinet Member for Environmental Protection, said: “The Scores on the Doors initiative led to a considerable improvement in food safety standards across the borough.

“Statistics reveal that in 2009, when the scheme was launched, 68 pe cent of food businesses met standards rising to an impressive 82 per cent last year. This new project will build on that success.

“Under the old scheme businesses were stuck with their star rating until the next programmed inspection, which could have been up to 18 months or two years later. Now businesses will be able to request a visit to be reassessed for their rating.

“Businesses will now be able to request a revisit to be reassessed for their rating. We feel this is fair to businesses as with the old scheme businesses were stuck with the star rating until the next programmed inspection which could be another 18 months or two years.”

The new scheme has been expanded. It continues to include:

Restaurants, cafes, takeaways, sandwich shops, supermarkets, nursing and residential care homes, children’s nurseries, public houses that sell food.

Added to the list is Public houses that do not sell food; Retailers that sell packed cooked meats, greengrocers; mobile traders, ice cream vans.