Whitby businesses get to grips with new hygiene scheme

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A series of food hygiene workshops have been completed in Whitby in the wake of a new food hygiene scheme across the UK.

The workshops, which have also been held in Scarborough and Filey were completed by Scarborough Borough Council in an attempt to give businesses advice on the launch of a new Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.

More than 350 businesses were represented at the sessions, which were funded by a grant from the Food Standards Agency.

Environmental health officers from the council’s Food and Occupational Safety team gave an overview of the new scheme and its regulations before answering questions from businesses on its implementation in their respective business environments.

The Food Standards Agency developed the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme to allow consumers to get at-a-glance information about a businesses’ hygiene standards from information gathered during planned inspections.

The scheme’s aim is to improve standards by allowing customers to make more informed choices on their food shopping and dining.

The council’s health and community safety manager Steve Pogson said: “We are delighted with the generally positive response we had from the food businesses that attended the workshops. It was very encouraging to see so many of them from across the borough represented.

“Not only will the scheme be useful for consumers, we also believe it will eventually lead to improved hygiene standards across the sector. Good food hygiene is therefore good for business.”

Most businesses that supply food directly to consumers will be affected by the scheme including restaurants, shops, cafés, takeaways, delicatessens, care homes, hotels and pubs.

Businesses will be rated for their compliance, where five represents high standards and zero where urgent improvements are required.

A sticker and certificate is to be issued by the agency, and businesses will be encouraged to display these in the premises. These ratings will also be published on a section of the government’s website, www.food.gov.uk/ratings

Scarborough Borough Council will be launching the scheme on a local scale later this month.