Wigan has the joint-second worst average food hygiene rating in the North West, a new study has revealed.
High Speed Training took an in-depth look at the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme and aggregated Food Standards Agency data to provide an overall picture of the nation.
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And the borough ranked 17th out of 18 in the regional table, receiving an average score of 3.86 based on 399 food-serving premises.
St Helens also received the same rating, albeit based on 317 premises. And they were only kept from bottom place by Bolton, which had the lowest average score in the North West, and was in the bottom three of all towns and cities in the UK, with an average of 3.83.
Southport had the highest rating in the North West with a rating of 4.76, ahead of Carlisle and Warrington in second and third respectively.
Takeaways were the biggest offenders across the UK, with one in nine rated two or lower. This comes as Just Eat announced their plans to invest £1 million into a food safety programme and introduces a minimum standard rating of 3 for all new restaurant sign ups.
“Our report aims to improve consumers’ understanding of the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme and the Scottish Food Hygiene Information Scheme, so they can make informed decisions around where to eat and drink,” said Lee Batchelor, who led the data team on the project.
“The ratings are based on more than just personal hygiene. There are different areas of inspection and the schemes do have their limitations. It’s just about understanding that and knowing where to get the right information.”
The calls for the mandatory display of food hygiene ratings in England and Scotland are increasing, with Brexit seen as an opportunity for this to be looked at once more.
However, with the current political uncertainty in the UK, there is yet to be any legislation tabled. Consumers must seek the information out if an establishment doesn’t display their rating.
Analyst Adam Rhodes said: “We also wanted businesses to know how much consumers care about food hygiene standards. The newest public attitudes report from the FSA shows 84 per cent are aware of food safety outside of the home, and public consciousness is growing. One poor inspection could really damage your business.”
The full report ‘Food Hygiene: Know The Score’ is available on the High Speed Training website: www.highspeedtraining.co.uk/hub/food-hygiene-ratings-report-2019/