Failing takeaways must display food hygiene score, Bett urges

Clive Betts, the chair of the community and local government select committee, has called for stricter regulations to compel restaurants to display food hygiene scores.

The announcements was coordinated with a Guardian investigation which found that one in seven food businesses had failed their most recent inspection.

Betts, who is also Labour MP for Sheffield South East, said: “There is a real problem at present. The only places that display their scores are the businesses that receive good scores but actually it’s the ones that get a bad score that you need to know about.

“I’m certainly very supportive of introducing [a policy of mandatory display],” he said. “What drives businesses is improving their profits and bad scores are going to turn customers away, so there will be a real incentive for businesses to improve their score.”

The ratings criteria is the same across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and each council is responsible for ranking food providers within its boundaries. Food providers are given a score of zero to five.

A zero ranking indicates that ‘urgent improvement is required’, while one or two signifies a fail grade, and three to five is satisfactory.

In contrast Scotland uses a pass/fail system, whereby the premises is either awarded a ‘pass or pass and eat safe’ ranking or ‘improvement required’.

In Wales it is mandatory for food establishments to publicly display their food ratings, which led to a significant improvement in safety, with the proportion of restaurants receiving a zero rating falling from 0.6 per cent to 0.2 per cent.

The report cited that cuts to local government funding has meant the number of food inspectors has declined, with just 3.2 food inspectors working full-time per 1,000 businesses.

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