Over 60 west of England restaurants 'zero-rated on hygiene'

Inspectors have given 66 premises in the west of England a zero hygiene rating, BBC Inside Out has discovered.

Councils work with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to score premises between zero and five, with zero showing "urgent improvement" is required.

Zero-rated premises can remain open but the FSA said if food was "not safe to eat" a business would be shut down.

Adrian Jenkins, from Bristol City Council, said it was up to people to decide to "use premises or not".

'Hard work'

The FSA operates the scheme in partnership with 20 district councils across the west of England.

Each hygiene rating is then available to view online but at the moment businesses are not forced to display food hygiene ratings on their premises.

Christian Wragg, head chef of Goldbrick House in Bristol which has a rating of five, said businesses should be made to display their results

"It takes hard work to keep your kitchen clean," he said.

"And I believe your status should be put up and shown to the public."

But the FSA said, in a statement, its "focus remains on getting all local authorities up and running" with the scheme rather than "introducing mandatory display of ratings".

'Sustained improvement'

Six out of the 66 zero-rated premises - trading in the west - are in Bristol.

But Mr Jenkins from the city council, said the rating means inspectors are aware and "working with that business to improve them".

"If they have a zero it's an indication of what we found on the day and not necessarily of what is going on when they go in there," he said.

"They could have made improvements but we wouldn't re-rate or re-assess them until quite a time after the initial inspection because we want to see a sustained improvement."

Inside Out West is broadcast on BBC One England at 19:30 BST on Monday, 14 October and nationwide on the iPlayer for seven days thereafter.

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