Environmental health chiefs are urging couples dining out this Valentine’s Day to first check the hygiene rating of the café or restaurant.

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The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme rates food businesses on their hygiene standards, based on inspections carried out by East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) Environmental Health Service.

Businesses in the area are rated on a scale ranging from 0, which means ‘urgent improvement necessary’, to a top rating of five - which is ‘very good’.

EDDC said that 96 per cent of restaurants, cafés and takeaways in the district have a rating of three or more.

And diners should look out for the green and black food hygiene rating stickers displayed on windows and doors.

Catriona Stewart, head of the food hygiene ratings team at the Food Standards Agency, said: “The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is a great tool when choosing where to eat out, particularly when celebrating a special meal, because it tells you what’s going on in the kitchen and behind the scenes.”

Councillor Iain Chubb, EDDC’s cabinet member for environment said: “Valentine’s Day is a busy time for our local restaurants, cafés and pubs.

“With the majority of food businesses in East Devon rated three or above, the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme makes it easier for everyone to choose to eat their romantic meals in places where food hygiene is taken seriously.”

If you can’t see a sticker then ask the staff, check on the East Devon app or check online at www.food.gov.uk/ratings

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