From the duh files, Birmingham UK edition: Restaurant inspection grade should be mandatory

Neil Elkes of The Birmingham Mail writes that all restaurants, take aways, pubs and cafes should be forced by law to display their food hygiene ratings according to Birmingham’s licensing chief.

powell_tipton_slasher_10_0_storyAnd if you don’t like it, the ghost of my great-great-great grandfather, William Perry, also known as the Tipton Slasher, will come and fight for mandatory display, just like he fought on the canals outside Birmingham for passage.

Currently food outlets can choose whether or not to display their ratings to customer and generally only those with four or five stars do.

But Barbara Dring, chairman of the council’s licensing and public protection committee, is urging the Government to make it compulsory for food sellers to display their rating.

She believes that by forcing venue to highlight their ratings will encourage the minority who are unsafe to raise their game.

The ratings of every outlet serving prepared food can be found on the Food Standards Agency website and last autumn they revealed that 127 places had been rated zero – the lowest score available meaning they are often filthy, have pest infestations or unsafe food.

Those venues are often closed and can only re-open once cleared by council inspectors. Repeat offenders are prosecuted .

Coun Dring (Lab, Oscott) said: “There are more than 7,500 food businesses in Birmingham and we want to them not only to be compliant with food law, but we want to encourage them to be better.

“One way to do this would be if it were a legal requirement to display their food business rating on their front door as they do in Wales.

“Currently the Food Standards Agency’s scores on the doors system is voluntary – there’s no incentive or compulsion for premises rated 0 or 1 to display their latest rating, so I want to see the Government make this a legal requirement for all food businesses.”