Diners are urged to choose where they eat wisely this Christmas.

‘Look before you book’ is the message from Cheshire West and Chester Council concerning restaurant standards.

Food hygiene ratings are easily available online and can help you avoid businesses which are not up to scratch.

Each establishment is inspected and graded zero to five on how committed they are to safety and hygiene.

Cabinet member for environment and community councillor Mark Henesy said: “The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme campaign encourages people, when eating out or buying food, to look for the hygiene rating and have peace of mind they are making a responsible choice in keeping their family and friends safe.

“By checking the rating you can be reassured to know you’ve chosen a business where they take food safety as seriously as you.

“Voting with your feet will encourage more businesses to strive to achieve the top rating which will be good for their business.”

Food Standards Agency ratings sign

About 93% of premises are rated three or higher, but more than 450 in Cheshire West were warned about hygiene standards last year.

This included one voluntary closure and a case of the seizure, detention or surrender of food.

Two takeaways in the region had a zero rating as of November 9.

More than a third of businesses which displayed their scored said it attracted more customers, improved their reputation and increased satisfaction.

To check food hygiene ratings visit www.food.gov.uk/ratings.

What do you make of this advice? Have you used the ratings website before? Let us know in the comments below.