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Food Hygiene Ratings - A step in the right direction

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I was pleased to learn that the Food Standards Agency (FSA), in partnership with local authorities, has introduced the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The scheme has been developed to assess premises which provide food to consumers. This can help consumers choose where to eat out or shop for food by giving them information about the hygiene standards in restaurants, cafés, takeaways, hotels and food shops by way of a rating score between zero and 5 (Zero meaning that “urgent improvement is necessary” and 5 meaning “very good”).

Each local authority can choose whether it wants to take part or not but numbers are increasing all the time with schemes now running in all areas of Wales and in many areas of England and Northern Ireland. The scheme is thought to encourage businesses to improve hygiene standards, whilst reducing any incidence of food poisoning.

Food poisoning is a regular occurrence and an illness that many do not consider making a personal injury claim for. Legally, sufferers are entitled to make a personal injury compensation claim as the food poisoning is often a result of someone else’s negligence.

Whilst most cases of food poisoning are quite mild and will only last for a few days, some unfortunate cases are more severe and require further treatment or can even lead to admission at hospital. The statistics on this issue suggest that approximately 400 people a year die as a result of food poisoning, with the elderly, pregnant women and children being the most vulnerable.

With this in mind and as a parent with a child in nursery, I am naturally curious regarding all aspects of the care provided and I was pleased to know that the nursery had been assessed by the FSA and received a 5 - very good rating.

If you are considering making a compensation claim for food poisoning it is important that you have seen your doctor to obtain the correct treatment. 

It is important that you keep any receipts, be it from the supermarket or restaurant where the food was purchased, along with any other evidence (including details of the places where you have eaten over this period of time) which can be used to support the allegation of where the problem originated from.

For further information regarding individual ratings you can search about hygiene standards at restaurants, takeaways and food shops at food.gov.uk/ratings.

By Barry Sutton