Bolton Council has become one of the first in the country to introduce a new system for grading food premises.
The council will introduce the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) across the borough from Monday January 24.
From this date, residents and visitors will be able to check out the food hygiene and cleanliness of a food outlet prior to purchasing food there either on the Food Standards Agency (FSA) website or by looking at the sticker or certificate displayed at the premises.
The scheme includes all food outlets which prepare or sell food to the public, such as restaurants, pubs, cafes, takeaways, supermarkets, bakeries, sandwich shops and delicatessens.
More than 2,000 businesses have been graded across Bolton and the hygiene standards rated on a scale ranging from zero at the bottom (which means ‘urgent improvement necessary’) to a top rating of five (‘very good’).
535 restaurants and food outlets in Bolton have achieved the highest score of five, including Olympus Fish and Chip restaurant, La Tasca and Carrs Pasties on Ashburner St, as well as independent cafes such as Rushtons in Harwood.
Councillor Nick Peel, Bolton Council’s Executive Member for Housing, Neighbourhoods and Regulations, said: “We are one of the first councils to implement the scheme as we can see the benefits both for local food businesses and the people that eat and shop in them.
“The public will be able to use the ratings when deciding which outlets to visit and we hope that food companies will recognise that displaying a good hygiene rating is good for business.
“When customers expect to see a rating, there is a real incentive for food businesses to seek to make improvements and we hope that those who don’t receive a good rating will make improvements and ask us back to inspect them again.”
Kim Sharples, co-owner of the independent Rushtons Café 10 in Harwood said: “We are really pleased to have been awarded the highest possible score in this new scheme for our café, which is an extension of our existing bakery and news business. We hope that this top grade for hygiene will show existing customers that we take cleanliness very seriously, as well as attracting new customers to visit our café.”
Mr Tasos Patichis, owner of the Olympus Fish and Chip restaurant said: “We are very proud to have been awarded the highest grade possible. We pride ourselves on our standards of cleanliness and hygiene, as well as on serving the best fish and chips in Bolton.
“This award reflects our commitment to our customers and will provide them with useful information that should assist consumer choice and boost customer confidence. This new system will benefit food outlets by creating an awareness of what standards need to be reached and as the ratings will be reviewed annually it should help to keep food hygiene standards high throughout the Bolton area.”