FOOD poisoning could ruin a Christmas meal out with family and friends, warns Halton Council.

The authority is urging people to check their food hygiene rating scheme before booking any restaurants.

Environmental health officers rate eateries and other places that sell food on their hygiene standards.

This national scheme awards points from five, deemed ‘very good’, four ‘good’, three ‘generally satisfactory’, two ‘improvement necessary’ to zero, which means ‘urgent improvement necessary’.

Everyone can see the scores online at or on distinctive green and black stickers businesses are encouraged to display.

Clr Stef Nelson, board member for environmental sustainability, said: “I encourage anybody who is eating out during the festive period to look before they book and check the hygiene rating using the internet or free smart phone app.

“In Halton 89% of food premises achieve the top three hygiene ratings so it should be easy to find a venue in the borough that takes food safety seriously."

Catriona Stewart, head of the food hygiene ratings team at the Food Standards Authority, said: 'No-one wants to gamble with their health when eating out, particularly when celebrating a special festive meal.

“Local authorities, including Halton have worked with us to successfully roll-out the scheme which helps people choose where to eat. Our app makes it even easier for people to check hygiene ratings before deciding which place to visit."

Food outlets awarded the top score of five include The Brindley, Runcorn, Ferry Boat, Runcorn, Greggs, Church Street, Frankie and Benny’s, Earle Road, Widnes, The Premier, Albert Road, Widnes, Cakes By Kerry, Albert Road, Widnes, Horse and Jockey Inn, Birchfield Road, Widnes, A1 Buffets, Highfield Road, Widnes.

The lowest score of one has been given to K Lee Supper Bar, Church Street, Runcorn, Carlos Pizza, Miami Pizza, and Milano Pizza all in High Street, Runcorn, Everglades Park Hotel, Derby Road, Widnes, Appleton Village Social Club, Appleton, Widnes, Crown Inn, Birchfield Road, Widnes, Aladdin, Victoria Road, Widnes.