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March 5, 2013

Where are you really eating out?

It seems you can’t judge food hygiene by outward appearances when choosing where to eat out.

These days we’re all more conscious of what we’re eating and making the right choices. But, when it comes to being sure of an eatery’s food hygiene standards, you can’t tell by the cuisine, interior design or even
the cost. That’s why the Food Standards Agency in Scotland, in partnership with local authority environmental health teams, developed the simple Food Hygiene Information Scheme (FHIS). Think of it as a way to see inside the restaurant kitchens and take a look behind the scenes.

And you might
be surprised by some of the results. It’s possible that a cheap takeaway might have better hygiene standards than a smart, expensive restaurant.

Food Hygiene Information Scheme


Being confident of good food hygiene is important whether you’re meeting friends for a leisurely pub lunch, grabbing a quick snack in a cafe or planning a meal for a special family occasion.

Local authority inspectors assess each business as either a ‘Pass’ – confirming food hygiene legal requirements have been met – or ‘Improvement Required’ – where standards need to be raised. These results are now available for you to search and check online – – and via a free app.

How is hygiene assessed?

The FHIS gives you easy access to the results of environmental health enforcement officers’ checks at each outlet to ensure it meets food hygiene law. They look for:

• Food handling skills: how
is it prepared, cooked, cooled and stored.

• Condition of the premises: cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities.

• Procedures: how the business manages its operations to make sure food is safe.

Check before you choose

• Look out for the blue Pass certificate or sticker on the doors and windows of food businesses.

• Go to to make sure your choice has achieved a Pass.

• Download the free FSA app that allows you to search when you’re out and about by your current location.

Look up your local restaurants and takeaways now – it’s quite addictive – and share what you find with your friends.