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Surf before you eat

MEDIA RELEASE
21 January 2005

Surf before you eat

Aucklanders can now check restaurant’s food hygiene gradings on-line before they go out to dine.

Auckland City Council today has launched New Zealand’s first citywide on-line food grading search engine. The state of the art search engine allows would-be diners to search for the name of an individual outlet, or a suburb or street name to confirm they are eating at an establishment with a food grading acceptable to them.

“Auckland City is providing a unique opportunity for people to check the food grading of eateries across the city,” says senior environmental health officer, David Vince. “This is in response to public demand for better access to information.”

Food grading for more than 4000 business are categorised and searchable using this service. Currently more that 80 per cent of food premises in Auckland have an A grade and one per cent are graded E.

Food premises across Auckland are classified under a four stage system; A, B, D or E (there is no C grade). Restaurants, cafes and takeaway bars are required to publicly display their grading certificate, however this on-line service gives visitors to the site the chance to check the grade before they venture out.

Food premises are inspected twice a year by Auckland City environmental health officers to check the quality of the business and staff food safety training. Grades are issued based on these inspections, but if an E graded business actively addresses the areas of concern highlighted by inspectors it can request an additional visit to re-assess its classification.

“In making this information more accessible to the public, we are hoping food outlets will more quickly improve hygiene standards and the grade of their business,” says Mr Vince.

Some of the 40 E gradings include outlets with staff without hygiene training, sub-standard refrigeration, general filth and cockroach infestations.

Search engine information is updated weekly with any changes to food hygiene gradings,
visit www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/foodgrading for additional information.


Ends

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