Basildon Council is reminding residents to check food hygiene ratings before visiting restaurants and takeaways this festive season.
Officers from the Environmental Health Team carry out inspections throughout the year to ensure that food establishments across the borough meet standards. They hand out ratings ranging from 0 to 5, with 65% of businesses currently deemed to be 5 - very good.
Ratings - which are available to view at Food Hygiene Rating Scheme - take into account a range of criteria including hygiene practices, structural standards and confidence in management. The scheme applies to restaurants, takeaways, pubs, hotels, supermarkets and other retailers.
Cllr Kevin Blake, Chairman of the Leisure, Culture and Environment Committee, said: "Christmas is a busy time of the year with people across the borough planning parties with their colleagues, friends or family. Make sure you take a few moments to check the hygiene rating of your chosen venue to find out what is going on behind the scenes and ensure that you enjoy a great meal out.
"For businesses with a good hygiene rating our message is to be loud and proud by displaying your window sticker clearly.
"While officers have the power to serve hygiene improvement notices or even close down businesses which pose a risk to public safety, they are committed to offering support to food establishments trying to improve. We want to work with businesses to ensure that residents and visitors have a wide variety of safe and well-run restaurants to choose from."
To ensure your Christmas is free from food poisoning, the winter edition of Together magazine contains top tips from the Food Standards Agency on how to safely prepare your turkey. It is being delivered to homes now or is available to read at 'together' Magazine
Visit Food safety services for more information on food safety inspections or hygiene training offered by Basildon Council.