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Make Mum's day; Planning a meal out next Sunday? Make it a day to remember for all the right reasons; ADVERTISING FEATURE.

WE SHOULD oil spoil our mums from time to time and next weekend is the perfect opportunity to show yours just how much you appreciate her.

Next Sunday, 10th March, is Mother's Day – a date for celebration, family gatherings and one of the most popular days in the year to dine out. It's a time to give your mum an extra special treat to show you care.

So whether you're taking her to a traditional tearoom or a cosy cafe, a trendy bistro or a stylish restaurant – there's an additional item you should add to your Mother's Day checklist. Before you make that reservation, make sure you don't get something you didn't order by eating somewhere with poor food hygiene standards.

As when food hygiene requirements aren't met the outcome can be serious, contributing to many of the 130,000 plus cases of foodborne disease in Scotland last year, with 2330 requiring hospitalisation and 50 deaths.

Whatever your destination, the best reassurance when eating out comes from the Food Hygiene Information Scheme (FHIS), devised by the Food Standards Agency in Scotland (FSAS) in partnership with local authority environmental health teams.

Think of it as an easy way to check behind the scenes of businesses selling food direct to the public. The FHIS provides clear information by rating eateries simply as either a 'Pass' – confirming the business has met food hygiene legal requirements – or 'Improvement Required' where standards need to be raised. Consumers can be assured that the local authority can close a business if it presents an imminent risk to public health.

The FHIS is designed to help you choose where to eat out by making these results accessible online – at www.food.gov.uk/ ratings – or via a free app. Food premises that have complied with hygiene legislation are also provided with blue Pass certificates and stickers for display.

Each of Scotland's 32 local authorities has signed up to publish inspection results on the FHIS website, with 23 already participating and rollout across most of Scotland due by the end of the year. This means the inspection results for almost 30,000 Scottish eateries are already available at the touch of a button. The good news is that the majority achieve a Pass but around 14 per cent are currently assessed as Improvement Required.

"People have a right to know about the standards of hygiene in establishments where they are taking their family and friends, and spending their money," says Peter Midgley, head of enforcement for the FSAS. I would expect any business serving food to know how to operate a safe, hygienic kitchen. There's no toleration for a 'don't care' attitude," he emphasises.

For those who leave things to the last minute, the FSA app also has a 'use my current location' feature to look up the nearest eateries when you're out and about. But don't leave it late or to chance.

Why not make checking and choosing a Pass part of how you show you care next Sunday ... and remember, your Mum might be checking up too!"

Checking for good hygiene standards is easy

Look for the blue Pass mark on certificates and stickers on the doors and windows of food businesses.

Gotowww.food.gov.uk/ratings where you can check if an establishment has achieved a Pass or check out the eateries in your local area.

Scan the QR code here to go direct to the FHIS website and download the free FSA app, designed for Apple and Android devices, that allows you to search by your current location. And when you do choose to eat somewhere that has achieved a Pass, why not tell the staff? It's always good for businesses to get positive feedback about the points their customers appreciate.

Mother's Day Check list

Card

Flowers

Chocolates

Download the FSA app

Book mum's favourite restaurant – check it has a Pass first!

Katrina Hunter, (left) from Symington, South Ayrshire, will be taking her mum Kay Smith, 80, out for lunch on Mother's Day but this time will be checking their destination out first on the FHIS website. "The last thing I want to do is unwittingly expose my mum to something that could affect her health," says Katrina.

"My parents are in their eighties and it's very important that they eat healthily and safely. To be sure, I would only take them to eat out somewhere that has a Pass."

Tom Bennett, from Prestwick, whose partner mum–of–two Kati, 41, is pregnant, says: "Transparency is very important these days and it's right that the public should know whether the food they're eating has been prepared in a clean environment. It's especially important for us as we're expecting a baby and Kati is being really careful about what she eats."

Nikki Ramirez who's planning to take her mum, Ruby Tweedie, 73, from Lockerbie, out for lunch on Mother's Day, loves the new food hygiene app: "The website makes very interesting reading and I've been surprised by some of the results I've found. It certainly proves you'd can't make assumptions about a restaurant until you've seen its hygiene result."

Check out your favourite local eateries now by visiting www.food.gov.uk/ratings or scan the QR code here. Share what you find with your friends, on Facebook.com/FoodHygieneInformationScheme and Twitter #FHIS @foodgov
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 3, 2013
Words:897
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