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15 September 2010, 05:00
A new food rating scheme's being brought in in Norwich today which lets you go online to the council's website and find out the best and worst places for things like cleanliness and hygiene.
Norwich City Council's the first to introduce the nationally recognised food rating scheme for all the city's restaurants and outlets.
From today, the city council will move over to the Food Standard Agency's national food hygiene rating scheme, making it the first local authority in the country to adopt the new scheme.
Ipswich Borough Council also has plans to bring in a similar scheme in the future - although it says nothing is final yet. The plans still need to go through the committee stage.
The move in Norwich will see the council leave behind the successful 'scores on the doors' Safer Food Award in order to support the FSA in its bid to establish a nationally standardised approach to rating food outlets. You will be able to log on to the council's website and search for the information as to how each food outlet is rated.
To mark the switch to the national scheme, Norwich City Council's food safety team are holding an open day in the Mancroft room in City Hall from 11am to 3pm today.
Restaurants and the city's many other food outlets will no longer be awarded a star rating under the new scheme. Instead they will be given a score from zero (the worst rating) to five (the best rating):
New rating scheme
0 = urgent improvement necessary
1 = major improvement necessary
2 = improvement necessary
3 = generally satisfactory
4 = good
5 = very good
Members of the public are welcome to attend the open day, chat with members of the team, have a go at looking up their favourite eating place and view the latest inspection reports.
As part of move to the new scheme the food safety team will also be introducing its new look web pages which will carry more information of interest to customers. This will include businesses that offer healthier options on their menus, welcome breastfeeding on their premises, source food locally and those that provide wheelchair access and toilet facilities for people with limited mobility.
Jaan Stanton, Norwich city council's food safety team manager, told Heart why he thinks it will be successful, "I think people are increasingly concerned about the standards of safety and hygiene in the places they eat - if not for themselves, but for their children and parents."
He added, they aren't trying to make businesses look bad, "This is very much a show and glow scheme. It is not anything to do about naming and shaming. We want to do a positive message - help them improve."
He also said, "The team works hard to make sure the food we eat is safe. And now, under the new scheme, consumers will be able to have even more confidence about where they buy food - which is great for business."