Conservative MP Michael Fabricant is leading the call for the display of food hygiene scores to be made compulsory at restaurants and takeaways in England.
Fabricant has tabled Parliamentary Written Questions to ministers at the Department of Health, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and to the Wales Office to encourage legislation in England to force restaurants to put their hygiene rating on display for customers.
“I was shocked to learn from a constituent that one of the many Indian restaurants I visit in Lichfield has consistently scored just one out of five for food hygiene following inspections from environmental health officers. This is being replicated up and down towns and villages in England,” said Fabricant. “That score of one means ‘major improvement in health standards’ are urgently required. Only a score of zero is lower.”
At present, many restaurants can get away with poor standards unless they are closed down by the local authority, said Fabricant, who described this scenario as the “nuclear and costly” option.
“In Wales, it is the law for all restaurants to display their hygiene score so that they are visible to their potential customers and that makes a major incentive to restaurant owners to raise standards and quickly too. It is time for England to follow the model in Wales and I shall be meeting with the Welsh Secretary, Stephen Crabbe, and ministers from DEFRA and the Department of Health to encourage the Food Standards Agency in England to move quickly on this.”
Fabricant wants hygiene ratings to be visible with the scores being ideally placed in the restaurant window or door before customers enter the premises.
“Trip Advisor scores are often on display, but they don’t indicate the safety of the food being served. This has got to change. And if a restaurant owner is able to make improvements and wants a quick re-inspection and re-grading, he or she should pay the local Council for the inspection – it should not be for the council tax payer to subsidise the restaurant as we all do now.”