'Tis the season to be jolly – and as Christmas approaches, many families, friends and work colleagues will be heading out for the best of festive food and drink in South Ayrshire.
The local area offers a fantastic array of food, drink and entertainment venues, rightly regarded as some of the finest in Scotland – but did you know that you can check how each establishment fares when it comes to fayre?
A recent poll by the Food Standards Agency found that almost half of the UK public (46%) never check the food hygiene status of places they plan to eat in.
In fact, over half the people who were surveyed were planning a festive meal out and their biggest worries were the food not being be enjoyable (25%) and only 3% reported that restaurants' food hygiene standards were their main concern.
Councillor John McDowall, South Ayrshire Council's Portfolio Holder for Trading Standards and Environmental Health issues, said: "A lot of effort and expense goes into festive meals to make sure family and friends have a good time, yet few customers make food hygiene a priority.
"Yet it's quick and easy do and we'd suggest people have a look at a venue's status before they book or plan a meal out – no matter what time of year it is."
To check food hygiene status online, just go to www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/fhis and check out South Ayrshire's Food Hygiene Information Scheme section, where you can find out how well a food business fared in their last food hygiene inspection.
Councillor McDowall added: "If you're out and about, you can also check for the blue and white 'PASS' certificate on display and if you can't see one just ask."
For more information or to check the food hygiene status of a restaurant, takeaway or café outside the South Ayrshire area visit www.food.gov.uk/ratings.