Local government leaders have called for all businesses serving food to be ‘forced’ to display food hygiene ratings to drive up standards and protect people from harm.
The Local Government Association (LGA) also want healthy food options to be incorporated into the hygiene ratings score in order to help tackle obesity.
Half of businesses in England do not currently display their food hygiene ratings in their premises, according to the LGA.
The display of these ratings, which score food outlets from zero to five based on factors such as kitchen cleanliness, cooking methods and food safety management, is mandatory in Wales and Northern Ireland.
The LGA also wants online takeaway websites to be required to display food hygiene ratings.
‘Making the display of hygiene ratings compulsory in England would incentivise food outlets to improve or maintain high hygiene standards, reduce the risk of illness for customers, improve consumer confidence and save taxpayers’ money by reducing the need for, and cost of, enforcement action by councils,’ said Cllr Simon Blackburn, chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board.
Heather Hancock, chairman of the Food Standards Agency, said: ‘We’re delighted that the LGA supports our plans to make it mandatory to display hygiene ratings both in their premises and online in England.
‘Mandatory display has already made a big difference in Wales and Northern Ireland, pushing up business hygiene standards and giving consumers greater confidence that their food is safe.
‘We’re preparing the case for mandatory display in England and hope to see progress soon.’