The district has announced it will switch from its local scheme to the new national one to recongise food hygiene standards.

FOOD businesses have been taking part in a new hygiene programme being adopted by Torridge District Council.

The food hygiene rating scheme (FHRS), developed by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in partnership with local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, provides information on food hygiene standards to help people to choose where to eat out or shop for food.

The scheme is already run in North Devon, and will mean food outlets are inspected by officers from the council and their standards rather from zero, meaning ‘urgent improvements necessary’, to five, meaning ‘very good’.

Roger Johnson, Deputy Leader of Torridge District Council, said: “Having a single scheme which is consistent nationwide and the same as neighbouring authorities means that the rating will have the same significance wherever people are buying food.

“The public will be able to use the information when deciding which food outlets to visit, and we hope that food companies will recognise that displaying a good hygiene rating is good for business.”

Brian Greenslade, Leader of North Devon Council, said: “It is really positive news for people who live in and visit the area, that both North Devon and Torridge councils are now using the same food hygiene rating scheme.

“1,700 businesses in North Devon are part of the scheme and about 85 per cent of these have achieved the highest score of five, and I’m sure Torridge will have equal success.”

Anyone can view a businesses’ ratings on the FSA website, and each business will be given a certificate and sticker to display in their outlet.