Food businesses are the toast of the town 01.11.11
Twenty three businesses in Sutton are the toast of the town after receiving a top rating in a new food standards scheme.
The scheme aims to help customers vote "with their feet" when eating out by telling them about the hygiene standards of food outlets.
A total of 89 businesses in the Sutton High Street area, including restaurants, takeaways and pubs, were inspected by food safety officers from Sutton Council with each given a rating, ranging from zero which means "urgent improvement necessary" to a top rating of five meaning "very good".
Almost a quarter of Sutton's businesses achieved a top rating.
Cllr Simon Wales, Sutton's Executive Member for Communities, Transport and Voluntary Sector, said: "We hope the scheme will be good for everyone – good for customers who will be able to use the ratings when deciding which outlets to visit, and for companies who will recognise that displaying a good hygiene rating is good for business.
"It will allow diners to vote with their feet when they choose where to dine.
"When customers expect to see a rating, there is a real incentive for food businesses to seek to make improvements to their hygiene standards."
The ratings, part of the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme run in partnership with the Food Standards Agency, are reached after inspectors give premises scores covering hygiene and handling practices, structure and cleaning, and confidence in management systems.
Poor temperature control, contamination risks, poor personal hygiene, lack of training and poorly documented and applied standards of hygiene management as well as poor cleanliness are among the failings which can bring down a rating.
Sutton's top rated food businesses were presented with certificates by the Mayor of Sutton, Cllr Gerry Jerome, at an awards ceremony at the five star Il Ponte restaurant in Sutton High Street today (Tuesday).
Giuseppina Culetta, from Il Ponte, said: "We're delighted to get this recognition and hope it gives customers even more confidence when they decide where they want to eat."
Writer and broadcaster Margaret Gilmore, who is also an FSA Board member, said: "Around one million people suffer from food poisoning every year, and our aim in introducing the scheme is to reduce this.
"The ratings will give consumers a glimpse of what is going on in the kitchen when they eat out, or behind the scenes at the places they shop, before they make their decision about which place they prefer to visit.'
The food businesses have been given a sticker and certificate and encouraged to display these at the entrance to their premises. This means customers can easily see them and decide if they want to go in.
Last updated: Monday, 19 December 2011