A new food hygiene rating scheme that aims to help residents choose where to eat and encourage businesses to improve standards has been launched.
Cheshire East council has signed up to the national scheme in partnership with the Food Standards Agency.
It will ultimately see every business in Macclesfield that sells food to the public rated on a scale from zero to five.
The ratings of just under 1,600 pubs, cafes and restaurants will go live on the website - www.food.gov.uk/ratings - on April 30.
The remainder will join the scheme over the next few months.
Star ratings are calculated from inspections in three areas:
- The three scoring areas used for the rating scheme are:
- How hygienically the food is handled – how it’s prepared, cooked, cooled and stored;
- The condition of the structure of the building – the cleanliness, lighting, layout and ventilation;
How the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe.
Businesses have been sent a certificate and a sticker, which can be displayed in their window or door.
Of the businesses inspected so far 573 received the top rating of five; 557 were rated as four; 234 were rated as three; 83 were rated as two; 119 were rated as one; and 12 were rated as zero.
Councillor Rachel Bailey, Cabinet member for safer and stronger communities, said: "This new food hygiene system will let Cheshire East residents make an informed choice about where they go to eat out or shop for food. A high rating will also act as a good advertisement for the business and reassure customers.
"The scheme will also help our officers in their work of improving food hygiene standards. It will highlight which premises need our attention and assistance moving forward.
"The initial inspections show that nearly 70 per cent of our businesses achieved the top two ratings and we will seek to build on these impressive figures over the coming months."