Restaurants Could Be Forced To Reveal Hygiene Ratings

If Parliament decides their scores should be displayed on the doors

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All local restaurants and food outlets could be forced to display their food hygiene ratings under plans being discussed in Parliament.

The Scores on the doors scheme, which went online last month, saw almost every restaurant and food outlet in Chiswick rated according to their latest food hygiene inspection reports, enabling consumers to make informed choices about where to eat.

Food outlets were been rated between zero and five stars. Five stars indicate "very high standards of food safety management," while no stars suggests a "general failure" to meet food safety rules.

However, the scores apply to the time of the last inspection only, so the rating is simply a snapshot in time and may not represent current conditions at the business. One local restaurant owner who received no stars has slammed the scheme claiming that no inspectors had ever been to his kitchen. "How can they rate my food hygiene when they have never ever been here." he said. Chiswick institution Andy's Kebabs, which was in fact closed and in the process of a major refurbishment, was also given no stars.

The compulsory displaying of the rating on doors or windows is just one in a package of measures put forward to Parliament by London Councils this week. The majority of proposed measures in the 10th LLAB reflect the capital’s environmental concerns – such as provision to make it easier for councils to ensure the roads outside of offices are free from smoking related litter.

But they also include public safety measures, such as the proposal designed to drive up food hygiene standards which is where the Scores on the Doors come in. It is anticipated that the scheme will prove particularly useful to assist the high numbers of tourists expected for the 2012 Games.

A separate Bill promoting London Councils’ campaign to reduce the environmental impact of throw away shopping bags, was also deposited.

November 30, 2007