Monmouthshire County Council’s environmental health team has urged residents to check the hygiene rating of pubs, restaurants and other food outlets before they book a table for St Valentine’s Day.

 The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme rates food businesses on their hygiene standards, based on inspections carried out by the council.  Businesses in Monmouthshire – like those in the rest of Wales – are rated on a scale ranging from 0 which means ‘urgent improvement necessary’ to a top rating of 5 which is ‘very good’.

 All food businesses should display a green and black food hygiene rating sticker on their windows or doors.  If the sticker isn’t apparent, residents are advised to ask a member of staff or check online at  Takeaways must also provide information about their food hygiene rating on their flyers and menus.

 Councillor Sara Jones, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member responsible for public protection said: “Valentine’s Day is a busy time for our local restaurants, takeaways, cafes and pubs.  The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme makes it easier for everyone to choose their romantic meal in places where food hygiene is taken seriously.  A good food hygiene rating is something to be proud of.”

Richard Bowen, Interim Director of the Food Standards Agency in Wales, added: “You can’t tell a restaurant’s hygiene standards by its website or by how romantic the ambience is.  But the Food Hygiene Rating tells you what’s going on behind the scenes, so you should factor that in when deciding where to eat for Valentine’s Day.”

Food businesses requiring help or advice should contact Monmouthshire’s environmental health team or telephone 01873 735420.