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Chairman's Column - 26 July 2021

Published on Monday, 26th July 2021

Chairman of the council Cllr Mark Heard June 2021 in front of MDC offices

What does a Food Hygiene Rating Mean?

“Have you ever noticed those green stickers on the door or window displaying a number 0 to 5, when you visit somewhere serving food? This is a Food Hygiene Rating which gives businesses a score which should be displayed at their premises and online, so you can make more informed choices about where to buy and eat food. So, if you are choosing where to eat based on standards found, businesses will be keen to improve their rating.

“Here are the categories: 5 – Hygiene standards are very good, 4-Hygiene standards are good, 3-Hygiene standards are generally satisfactory, 2-Some improvement is necessary,1-Major improvement is necessary and 0-Urgent improvement is required!

“In our area, Maldon District Council is responsible for premises inspections and food hygiene arrangements checks. All businesses serving food are inspected by us looking at their food preparation, storage and hygiene standards and then they are rated according to the standards found at the time of the visit. Councils should publish the results of their inspections through the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS). Authorised officers’ visits ensure that the business is complying with food safety law; and those businesses are providing food that is safe for consumers to eat.

“An assessment of risk is made following a visit and the risk rating dictates the frequency of future visits. Officers may also visit to check compliance following an earlier visit, especially if legal notices have been served or following a complaint, poor sampling results, or at the request of the food business operator.

“The officers look at the general layout and structure of the premises, including repair and cleanliness, and the food practices such as temperature control and hand washing. They also give advice and make recommendations, so businesses can make improvements.  If there are more serious failings, the officer can require improvements to be made and prosecute a business for not complying with the law. In extreme cases, the officer can apply to a Magistrates' Court to close the premises until improvements have been made.

“These visits are yet another example of a service provided by Maldon District Council to look after its residents that I thought you would like to know about.

“Keep safe and take care.”

Councillor Mark Heard's Signature

Councillor Mark S. Heard
Chairman of Maldon District Council