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Which? Claim Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is a Postcode Lottery
An investigation by consumer organisation Which? has found big variations in Food Hygiene Hazard Ratings between different areas. The survey that took in 2,000 UK postcodes looked at ratings between January 2011 and March 2013. They identified Bexley in South East London as the area with the lowest average score with 45% of premises not receiving a category 3 rating. A parallel study resulted in 75% of consumers saying they would not eat in an establishment that received a rating lower than three.
Which? Executive Director Richard Lloyd said, “Our investigation shows that food hygiene is an unacceptable postcode lottery. Diners shouldn’t be taking a risk with their health simply by choosing the wrong area in which to eat out.” The results of the survey will be used to strengthen demands for regulations to be introduced to force food establishments to prominently display ratings. A similar system introduced in New York in 2010 has proved a great success largely due to the mandatory requirement for food grading information to be displayed. Food establishments are also subject to immediate closure if they receive three consecutive C gradings. In January 2012, 72% of New York’s food outlets had achieved highest level grade A scores.