There’s nothing less romantic than a stomach bug – that’s the message coming from Dacorum Borough Council as the authority encourages lovers to check the food hygiene ratings of the borough’s restaurants before booking their Valentine’s Day meals.
Food outlets in Dacorum are inspected by the Council’s food safety officers who check hygiene standards meet legal requirements.
They are rated on a scale ranging from a top rating of five which is ‘very good’ to the lowest rating of zero which means ‘urgent improvement necessary’.
While more than 90% of food businesses in the area are rated a three or higher, four establishments in Hemel Hempstead have a rating of just zero.
These include Waterhouse Street’s Bengal Spice, which was marked in June last year, and Flaming House in Lawn Lane which was last inspected a year ago.
Frescho Foods in The Heights and Boxmoor’s Seattle Steakhouse both also currently have a zero, having been rated last September and October respectively.
Conversely, almost 300 restaurants and food businesses in the town have the highest rating of 5.
In Berkhamsted, more than 70 have a rating of 5, while none have been handed a zero. Just four of the town’s eateries – Berkhamsted Fish Bar, Dar Papillon, Tazza Bar and Restaurant and The Village Shop – were given a rating of 1 at their last inspection.
Of Tring’s restaurants and food businesses, more than 70 are currently rated 5, while just the Cow Roast Inn, last inspected in September, is rated zero.
Chris Troy, Group Manager of Dacorum Borough Council’s Regulatory Services, said: “The truth is, you can’t tell a restaurant’s hygiene standards by how clean and tidy the staff look or by how romantic the décor and ambience is.
“It’s the things you can’t see – like germs spread by bad hygiene practices – that you need to consider. When planning your special meal out, make sure you check the hygiene ratings online and choose a restaurant that takes food hygiene seriously.
“This is also an important time for local food businesses as a good food hygiene rating is something to be proud of. It matters to customers so we are encouraging all businesses in Dacorum to display their rating.”
In the last three months, 13 businesses across the borough had been given a 4 or 5 rating – these include Darvells of Berkhamsted, Hemel Hempstead’s The Gade and Goose, River Spice and Wing Fu House, and Zeera and The Bull in Bovingdon. Click here for more.
The full ratings for Dacorum businesses are also available for anyone to view on the Food Standard Agency’s website, www.food.gov.uk/ratings.
Food businesses are given a distinctive green and black food hygiene rating sticker and certificate, and they are encouraged to display these at the entrance to their premises. This means that their customers can easily see them and decide if they want to go in.