Look before you book this Valentine’s Day

Published: Wednesday, 8th February 2017

If you’re planning that special Valentine’s date Oxford City Council wants to remind you to look before you book.

Planning the perfect Valentine’s date is stressful enough and the last thing anyone wants on their mind is worrying about whether the place they choose is hygienic or not. There’s nothing romantic about food poisoning.

Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, Board Member for Planning and Regulatory Services, said: “Most of Oxford’s restaurants and food business meet high hygiene standards but it’s always best to make sure before you book. You can’t tell a restaurant’s hygiene standards by how clean and tidy their staff look or by how romantic the ambience is. So check the food hygiene rating before you go - that way you’ll be sure that the venue you choose meets the standards you expect.”

Oxford City Council’s environmental health officers check 1300 businesses a year to rate them against the national Food Standards Agency ratings. Businesses are rated on a scale ranging from 0 which means ‘urgent improvement necessary’ to a top rating of 5 which is ‘very good’. In Oxford, 68 per cent hit the top mark. 

Cllr Hollingsworth added: “Our staff carry out stringent hygiene inspections so that you can be sure that the food businesses you choose trade safely and we will take legal action where they don’t.”

So, whether you’re reserving a table at a romantic hotspot, a cosy café, or ordering a takeaway on your way home, make sure you choose one of around 1100 businesses in Oxford with a rating of 3 or above. It’s easy to check. Just go online to the Food Standard Agency’s website, www.food.gov.uk/ratings, or if check for the green and black sticker in the premises’ window – and if you can’t see one just ask the business.