Restaurants could face 'scores on doors' hygiene ratings

Diners may soon be able to rest easy knowing exactly how well their chosen eatery is maintained behind the scenes. The Food Standards Agency has today launched a scheme whereby restaurants, pubs, takeaways and supermarkets can display their hygiene ratings for all to see.

Chef in a restaurant kitchen
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The "scores on doors" system will give each establishment a rating of zero to five - those carrying a zero will come with an "urgent improvement necessary" warning, a rating of one carries the statement "improvement necessary", while three is considered "satisfactory".

It is hoped the new system will help to prevent some of the one million cases of food poisoning each year - 20,000 of which lead to a hospital admission.

The FSA conducted a survey of customers and found that 23 per cent had been forced to return undercooked poultry and 29 per cent had sent back undercooked red meat.

Though outlets are not required by law to display their ratings, the FSA hopes that the public will begin to avoid those who do not. And for those who are concerned about their local takeaway or food shop, local councils across England, Wales and Northern Ireland will publish hygiene ratings on their websites.

A number of restaurants and supermarkets have criticised the system, complaining that it is unnecessary since local authority health officers already visit regularly.

But FSA chairman Jeff Rooker believes the system will work, saying: "If customers are looking for a hygiene rating, this will drive businesses to improve their standards."

What do you think? Would you like to see hygiene ratings displayed on your local eateries or are you happy to take it on trust? Leave your comments below...
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