Auckland diners should feel reassured heading into the holiday season, with almost 98 per cent of the region’s eateries practicing good food hygiene practices.
Auckland Council said since it implemented the Food Safety Bylaw last year, which covered inspection, staff training, the conduct and maintenance of premises, and cleaning and sanitising, there had been a significant improvement in food safety and hygiene.
Almost 98 per cent of business in the region had received an A or B food hygiene rating this year.
Councillor Calum Penrose, the Bylaws Committee chairman, said the numbers were encouraging as it meant an increase in food safety, minimising the potential risks of food bought from restaurants, cafes, food stalls and mobile food shops.
Customers had become more aware of the grading practices now premises were required to prominently display their grade, Penrose said.
The grade also allowed customers to make an informed choice before eating out.
Auckland Council environmental health manager Mervyn Chetty said the food grading system was just one aspect of a consistent approach to food safety region-wide.
There were more than 8,520 licensed food premises in the region, including 762 new applications for licences this year.
Chetty said there had been an increase in food operators wanting to sell food at markets.
“This year alone, we have had three new night markets open, bringing the total to nine night markets operating in Auckland.”
Food trucks were also gaining in popularity, he said.
Last year hygiene problems at Auckland eateries forced some places to shut temporarily.
Last year 10 restaurants and cafes had received E grades, with 29 given a D grade.
Premises were given an A for a high standard, B for good, D for poor and E for unsatisfactory.
Those with an E grade last year included Kebabs on Campus, located at Auckland University of Technology, the Kiwi Music Bar & Cafe on Queen St, and controversial chain outlets Masala Restaurant Mission Bay and Hollywood Bakery Sylvia Park.
Since then all these businesses had been upgraded to an A grade.
Popular Chinese dumpling house Barilla Dumpling received a D in the first round of grading last year but was later upgraded to an A. Barilla Dumpling currently held a B grade.
The food hygiene grades of all Au