The ‘Health County’ Salad and Juice Bar based in Merry Hill Shopping Centre has been awarded a ‘Gold’ Dudley Food for Health award for providing healthier menu options and meeting high standards of food hygiene to the public.

The award scheme was developed by joint partners Dudley Council (Food and Occupational Safety Team) and Dudley Public Health (Food and Nutrition Team) to ensure that the public has easy access to nutritious, healthy and affordable foods.

Opened in April this year, Health County offers a wide variety of fresh made-to-order healthy and nutritious foods for people on the go. Customers are spoilt for choice with over 100 ingredient options available, allowing them to enjoy a different recipe every time they visit. Using high quality, seasonal organic ingredients where possible, Health County ensures that the best taste in their products is maintained.

By law, all catering establishments have to undertake rigorous food hygiene inspections by Environmental Health Officers. Premises are rated on a star rating national scheme where they are awarded from zero to five stars and the results can be viewed on the local authority web site: /scores-on-the-doors/

The standard of criteria for entering into the award scheme is high and caterers must achieve at least three stars for their food hygiene rating before even being eligible to apply for an award. The awards are recognised at three levels of Bronze, Silver and Gold.

The Food and Nutrition team provide specialist training and advice to caterers and their staff during the award assessment process to advise them on making healthy adjustments to ingredients and food preparation. It also includes valuable guidance on how best to promote healthier dishes; planning menu’s, cooking practices and marketing strategies.
On receiving the Gold Award - Director Phil Obasi said:

“We were really delighted to achieve the criteria to be entered into the scheme. In achieving a ‘Gold’ award just emphasises that we have worked hard to get through the assessment and that we are dedicated in what we do. At Health County, we pride ourselves in maintaining the highest standard in terms of food and customer service. We take the healthy eating agenda very seriously, and aim to be the number one provider of healthy nutritious food for busy individuals and groups who want a bite on the go”

The award was presented to Health County by Dudley’s Director of Public Health, Valerie Little and Councillor Zafrar Islam, cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing at the Merry Hill Centre:

Councillor Zafar Islam, cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing said:

“Health County really deserve their ‘Gold’ award. They have worked really hard and their commitment in providing healthy, nutritious food to their customers is paying off. I hope that many more catering establishments will follow their example and also offer healthier food options on their menus”.

Catering for a range of hungry and healthy appetites, customer favourites include: fresh fruit smoothies, juices, salads, wraps and soups. Health County also operate a 100% recycling policy, to ensure that all packaging and disposables used are fully biodegradable.

Valerie Little, Director of Public Health concluded:

“There is good evidence that eating a healthy diet can reduce your risk of obesity and illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis and some types of cancer, so it is very pleasing to see Health County offer such a varied range of healthy alternatives to the public”.

The Health County trendy Flagship Salad and Juice Bar is located on the Upper Mall, near the Sainsburys entrance, of the shopping centre.