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All restaurants and takeaways in England should be made to display their food hygiene scores by law, the Local Government Association (LGA) has said.
The body that represents councils in England says the move should be made as part of the post Brexit legislation.
Outlets are scored zero to five based on factors such as kitchen cleanliness, cooking methods and food management.
The Food Standards Agency, which runs the scheme, said it was reviewing how food businesses were regulated.
The FSA also oversees the rating system in Wales and Northern Ireland, where displaying the scores is compulsory, while in Scotland they must display similar food hygiene information.
‘Scores on the doors’
The FSA conducted a survey in 2012 that showed 43% of restaurants and other food businesses in England put up a score, which fell to 32% in London.
For businesses with a low rating – between zero and two – the figures fell to 12% across England and 9% in London.
The LGA said much existing food safety legislation comes from the European Union and it was important it was not weakened after Brexit.
The government plans to convert EU law into domestic legislation as part of its EU (Withdrawal) Bill and councils want ministers to take that opportunity to strengthen regulation by making all restaurants and takeaways in England display their “scores on the doors” for food hygiene.
Simon Blackburn, chairman of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said EU food standards must be protected after Brexit.
“Food hygiene standards and compliance levels have risen since the scheme was introduced in Wales,” he said.
“The lack of a hygiene rating sticker in a business means customers are left in the dark on official kitchen cleanliness levels when eating or buying food there.”
The FSA said it was hoping to bring plans to improve regulation forward for England to ministers by 2020.
“Mandatory display is part of the FSA’s plans for a new model of regulation but implementation will require legislation,” a spokesman said.
“We want to bring the food hygiene rating scheme in England in line with Wales and Northern Ireland, where the benefits of more visible ratings have already been felt.”
Recent food hygiene prosecutions include:
- In east London the owner of a Chinese restaurant was fined and banned for life from operating a food business after multiple safety breaches in its cockroach infested kitchen
- In west London a fast food restaurant and its owners were ordered to pay almost £20,000 after they repeatedly ignored improvement warnings. Mouse droppings were found all over the kitchen
- Another lifetime ban was given to the owners of a vermin infested fast-food shop after rat droppings were found all over the premises, including on rotting cucumbers and tomatoes.
- An Essex pub was shut down and one of its director’s fined more than £40,000 after it was found to be storing food in a rat infested building
- Inspectors found a nest of rats with live babies, cockroaches in flour in a dough mixer machine, and rat faeces and urine over food packaging materials during an inspection at a bakery
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