Wearside tattooists are being urged to hit top marks for hygiene – as part of a new campaign by council chiefs to drive up safety standards for those going under the needle.
Tattoo businesses across Sunderland are being rated on their cleanliness under a new restaurant-style scheme being rolled out by Sunderland City Council in partnership with the region’s six other local authorities.
It’s long overdue that recognition of excellent standards should be acknowledgedCharlie Wilson
Much like the established system in place for restaurants, cafes and take-aways – where star ratings are on display at premises – the North East Tattoo Hygiene Rating Scheme will allow customers to see how individual firms are judged before they get in the tattooists’ chair.
The initiative will operate along similar lines to the Food Standards Agency’s Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, where businesses are inspected by an Environmental Health Officer and allocated a rating award of between one and five – one representing unsatisfactory and five being excellent.
Each business will be provided with a certificate for display inside the premises, and a window sticker that states its rating, enabling prospective customers to immediately know its hygiene and cleanliness standards.
The information will also be available on the city council’s website.
Sunderland City Council head of public protection and regulatory services, Tom Terret, said: “Over recent years it has become fashionable for people of all ages to get tattoos, and the number of new businesses being set up to meet the ever increasing demand continues to grow.
“There are obvious health implications to being tattooed, and people need to know what kind of hygiene standards are in place to protect them before agreeing to anything.
“The new rating system will help to ensure that tattoo business meet the exacting high standards expected of them and assure their customers that they are in safe hands.” All of the regions 250 registered tattoo businesses are being invited to join the scheme, with The first businesses in Sunderland to be awarded a five star rating being Sunderland Body Art, Triple Six, Diamond Ink, Supafly Wills Tattooz, Robs Tattooz and Sacred Tattoos.
Charlie Wilson, owner of Sunderland Body Art in Grangetown, said: “It’s long overdue that recognition of excellent standards should be acknowledged.
“I’m very pleased to be the first tattoo studio in Sunderland to receive the five rating.”
Members of the public with concerns about regarding unregistered, illegal tattooing or hygiene practices are urged to contact their local Environmental Health department.