No complacency over food hygiene standards,

Nearly 99 per cent of food businesses in South Kesteven comply with legal food hygiene requirements, according to latest figures from the District Council, with many attaining top marks under the national rating scheme.

South Kesteven District Council has more than 1,350 businesses registered, with only just over one per cent registering an unsatisfactory score under the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.

Of those to which the scheme applies, 98% are termed 'Broadly Compliant' or better, meaning that they have achieved a rating of 3, 4 or the maximum score of 5.

Council Environmental Health Officers have so far undertaken 517 food hygiene inspections, with a similar number undertaken the year before.

Just fifteen restaurants and takeaways have failed to meet required food hygiene standards..

Cllr Dr Peter Moseley, Cabinet Member for Environment, has praised overall food hygiene standards across the district and encouraged the public to check out eateries for themselves by visiting the Food Standards Agency web site (http://ratings.food.gov.uk/) or downloading the app.

"Generally, businesses across the district perform well under Food Standards Agency legislation," he said. 

"In the last quarter alone, 85% of businesses inspected improved their score or maintained their five-star rating, illustrating their commitment to quality food hygiene. We do want to hear if something is not up to standard, so please contact us."

"SKDC constantly encourages and works with local food business to improve our district wide ratings. We cannot be complacent, however, and we must work to drive standards ever upwards so that wherever you eat in South Kesteven, you are assured an acceptable standard of food hygiene and safety.

"We can and do take formal action against businesses that fail to comply with the law and put the public at risk.

"Failure to comply with formal notices requiring work will usually result in prosecution. Where a business is not complying, they will be inspected on a more regular basis and we will work with operators to bring the business up to a compliant standard."

SKDC has confirmed that 15 businesses (1.1 per cent) have unsatisfactory scores - one with a score of zero, six with a score of one and eight with scores of two. All are inspected on a more regular basis.

Problems found included poor standard of cleaning, hand washing basins not in use, poor standards of training of food handlers in food hygiene matters, poor equipment condition or cleanliness and poor structure of the premise. Other issues included cross-contamination of food and general poor management of the business that could adversely affect food hygiene.

The council has prosecuted one food business this year for non-compliance with food law - the Hare and Hounds at Greatford near Stamford - but has since worked with the owners to make improvements. The restaurant now has a four star rating.

For media enquiries: Email the SKDC communications team at pr@southkesteven.gov.uk or phone 01476 406498 or 406440.