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Article date - 12 June 2019
From supporting new businesses to make sure they get things right first time to encouraging them to take steps to make food healthier for all, St Helens Council’s environmental health team is helping to keep shoppers safe and helping local businesses.
St Helens Council’s cabinet approved its Food Law Enforcement Plan, which aims to maintain high standards of food safety across the borough’s restaurants, takeaways and manufacturers.
Among the success stories for the team include the Healthier Options St Helens Takeaways (HOST) scheme for businesses that want to make healthy changes to their menus, such as less salt and fat content.
And St Helens’ Chip Fryer Awards, which give fish and chip shops with platinum and gold awards for serving up healthier food with thicker cut chips that absorb less saturated fats, strict monitoring of cooking oil, and options for smaller portions.
After trialling the Chip Fryer Award requirements, Carl Pennington, who owns Thatto Heath’s Chipmunk shop, said: “I looked into it and by experimenting I could see that it produced a cleaner, healthier chip. It’s fresher and my oil lasts longer. We’ve had a lot of feedback from regular customers that it’s a nicer, tastier chip. And we’ve seen an increase in new customers. All round it’s helped to build the fish and chip shop.
“We’re proud to be a part of it all, it’s good advertising and it’s something to talk to our customers about!”
Community and Business Health Promotions Officer, Teresa Mercer, who oversees the projects, said: “The Chip Fryer Award recognises best practice in our local chip shops. Very simple measures of hotter oil and thicker chips mean that they absorb up to 40 per cent less saturated fat. And it’s good to recognise the businesses that are working towards making our communities healthier.”
Councillor Lynn Clarke, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: “Our environmental health team work incredibly hard to make sure that we are protected against poor food safety and help support businesses across our borough. Whether that is through regular inspections, working with new businesses or encouraging takeaways to make easy healthy options that can make a positive impact on our health; we take our role to protect the public very seriously.”