The latest set of food hygiene ratings make good reading for the foodies of Preston.
Out of the 1,391 businesses inspected, 96 per cent of them achieved the desired three stars of more.
And only 56 businesses were told to improve, none were given the dreaded zero stars by Preston City Council inspectors.
Simon Neighbour, environmental health manager at the council, said: “This is a win-win situation for everyone. If businesses have a high score it means a good reputation for them and it means we visit them less, which costs us less money.
“We definitely want to thank businesses for all their hard work because getting these ratings isn’t easy. They should feel really proud of this achievement.”
We definitely want to thank businesses for all their hard work because getting these ratings isn’t easy. They should feel really proud of this achievement.
Preston is now one of the leading borough’s in the country for its high scores and while others places struggle, the city continues to improve year on year.
Earlier this year Hyndburn was revealed as one of the worst areas for takeaway food hygiene in the country when 41 of its 105 food establishments failed to achieve a ‘generally satisfactory’ rating of three or higher.
“If a business needs help with improving then we take the time to go down there and work with them because it’s our best interest as well as theirs,” Simon said.
“There’s only one of two which have asked us to go down and we have a 100 per cent record of improving businesses when we work with them.
“We challenge the businesses not scoring three stars to take responsibility for their improvement and to get in contact because we want to help.”
Bluebells Private Day Nursery received five stars and catering manager Mark Webster said: “We freshly prepare breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and snacks for young children every day, so it’s absolutely essential that we do this in a healthy environment.
“Our meals are prepared in the nursery kitchen using fresh vegetables, meat, fish and fruit, so a lot of hard work goes into making sure excellent kitchen policies are in place. We make sure our staff have the right training to carry out these policies and that these standards are upheld every day, so our children can always enjoy healthy food that has been prepared in a hygienic way.
“We’re thrilled to receive the five star rating, not only because it recognises the hard work we put into our children’s food, but also because it gives our parents even more peace of mind that their little ones are being cared for in a healthy environment.”
Blackpool road takeaway Don Mario, Sun Hotel on Friargate and mobile caterer DDs road chef were just three of 19 places given the second lowest mark of one star meaning major improvement needed.
There were also 37 places which received a two-star, improvement necessary, rating although hundreds of businesses around the city were awarded three, four and five stars for their hygiene.
When the Lancashire Post contacted these 56 businesses, none of them wanted to comment on their ratings although some did say they planned to get in touch with council inspectors to help them improve.
The figures are an all-round improvement on 2016’s with most businesses improving or retaining their ratings.
Last year 650 businesses were given full marks but this year has seen a further 75 awarded five stars. In 2016, 66 places were told to improve by inspectors with only 56 getting the same message this year.
Last year, Nasza Biedronka, Stonka and Chopan Authentic Cuisine, all of New Hall Lane and The Nile of Church Street were all given the lowest mark of zero stars.
But three of the four mirror the improvement of hygiene in the city after improving their scores this time around.
Chopan Authentic Cuisine made huge improvements, going all the way from zero to four stars in the space of a year.
The Nile jumped up to two stars while Nasza Biedronka was awarded one.
Stonka was no rated after having its licence stripped after smuggled cigarettes were discovered in a hole in a wall.
It has since been replaced by retailer Stokrotka which scored four stars.
Simon said: “Businesses should want to see less of us and if they do all they need to do is improve their ratings.
“We can help with that but they only have three months left to get in touch before we take action on the places which need to improve.
“We’re delighted with the 96 per cent but wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could improve on that next year? That’s our aim.”
These ratings are from Preston City Council and are accurate from March 20.
PANEL: What is the scores on the doors system and how does it work?
The scores on the doors food hygiene system was established in 2011 and, in Preston, council inspectors visit food premises and give a rating out of five.
A spokesman from the Food Standards Agency explained there are three key elements in how an inspector gives a business a rating.
“A food safety officer inspects a business to check that it meets the requirements of food hygiene law,” they said.
“The officer is from the local authority where the business is located.
“At the inspection, the officer will check: How hygienically the food is handled – how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored.
“The condition of the structure of the buildings – the cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities.
“How the business manages what it does to make sure food is safe and so that the officer can be confident standards will be maintained in the future.
“Each of these three elements is essential for making sure that food hygiene standards meet requirements and the food served or sold to you is safe to eat.”