Concerning new research suggests that one in three UK people have had a poor eating out experience and suspect that an eatery or take-away venue was responsible for giving them food poisoning.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) poll also shows that 46 per cent don't ever look at the food hygiene ratings of food venues, the Agency reports.
When the recent poll was carried out, 20 per cent said they were set to book Christmas meals during the coming two weeks.
The Agency wants people to look at food hygiene ratings first, before they arrange their festive meals out.
It comes as it was discovered that just three per cent of people who will be doing the Christmas meal booking say their biggest concern is the food hygiene standards at the eatery.
As the agency explains, hygiene ratings, given to English, Welsh and Northern Irish eateries, rate from zero to five (the top mark) the extent to which the eatery meets requirements relating to the law around food hygiene.
All ratings can be seen on the agency's website and some are on show in the venues themselves.
"Nobody wants the embarrassment of booking a Christmas meal that is less than perfect. The people we spoke to through our poll spend a lot of time and effort planning festive meals to make sure their family and friends have a good time, yet very few make food hygiene a top priority," commented Food Hygiene Ratings Scheme head, Catriona Stewart Head, on the Agency's website.
"We are urging everybody to look before they book if planning that special Christmas meal."
Many people in restaurant hospitality jobs will be anticipating a spike in business for the festive season, which can make things busy. But as ever, if they see anything that looks like it could be a hygiene issue, they should raise the issue at work, to avoid it causing a problem.
A lot of hospitality workers enjoy the excitement of a busy period, so although the festive rush can be a challenge, many will be looking forward to it.