Scores on doors should be mandatory; can’t just choose to ignore a bad inspection grade; Wales will lead in UK

Restaurants and takeaways in Wales could be required by law to publicly display food hygiene ratings on their premises.

It would be the first compulsory "scores-on-the-doors" scheme in the UK, the Welsh government says.

Ministers want customers to get more details about where they eat or buy food and say this will raise standards.

The proposals follow E. coli outbreaks in Wales which led to calls for a tougher stance.

Karen Morrisroe (right), who became seriously ill after an E. coli outbreak linked to a fish and chip shop at Llay, Wrexham two years ago, told BBC Wales, "I’m all in favour of a mandatory system. I know it could put some people out of business but if this is done properly it will provide customers with better protection."

During the outbreak it emerged that the fish bar had been given a 0 out of 5 rating by council officials after an earlier food hygiene inspection.

Under the scheme, businesses will be rated with a score of between zero to five based on standards on how the food is prepared, cooked, cooled and stored, as well as the condition of the premises.

All food businesses, including supermarkets, will be required to display their score in a prominent position or face fines of up to £1,000. Ratings will also be available online.

A statement from the Welsh government said a mandatory scheme has been backed by Prof Hugh Pennington who chaired a public inquiry into the 2005 E.coli outbreak in south Wales.

About 30,000 businesses in Wales would be covered by the scheme which could be in operation by 2014.

Currently, more than 13,500 have been rated under a voluntary scheme operated by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), although it is estimated that only one in three display their rating.