The towns and cities across Yorkshire that scored highest and lowest for their food hygiene ratings have been revealed, thanks to a report from Ilkley-based online training provider High Speed Training.
The report, which analysed Food Standards Agency (FSA) data for over 230,000 food businesses across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, found that in Yorkshire, the average food hygiene rating across all food establishments was 4.51 from nearly 21,000 premises, which places the region 7th in the national rankings.
A similar report run in 2019 by High Speed Training calculated Yorkshire’s score at 4.38, showing that food hygiene standards have improved across the region in recent years.
The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) is a partnership with local authorities in England, Wales & Northern Ireland.
The scheme aims to provide customers with information as to how well a business is upholding food hygiene and safety standards.
Following regular inspections, ratings are devised based on the standard of food handling hygiene, the physical condition of the premises and facilities and also food safety management practices.
These ratings are then made available on the Food Standards Agency (FSA) website and are usually visible from outside of the premises, often presented in a window near the entrance.
The top spot in Yorkshire went to Harrogate, with an impressive average score of 4.72 from over 300 premises, placing them 12th in the national rankings for towns and cities.
Harrogate topped the national rankings in the 2019 survey, and is the only town or city in Yorkshire to record a drop in average rating from 2019, by 0.13.
The lowest average rating Yorkshire went to Halifax, with an average score of 4.22 from over 400 premises, meaning they rank 55th in the national rankings.
The biggest cities in Yorkshire, Sheffield, Leeds and Bradford, placed 7th, 8th and 11th in the region, with average scores of 4.49, 4.47 and 4.27 respectively.
High Speed Training’s report also found that more than one in five takeaways in Yorkshire and Humberside scored a three and below on their food hygiene rating, and that 87% of premises scored a four or a five.
Eilidh Paton, Owner of Alba Food Safety Consultancy and Chartered Environmental Health Officer, said: "Food Hygiene inspections and ratings are extremely important.
"From a legal perspective, they ensure businesses are compliant, but mostly, they are designed to help businesses provide safer food.
“It also gives consumers the assurance that businesses are safe to eat in as they are regularly inspected by competent officers.
"Takeaways, on average, tend to have a lower rating for a large number of reasons, but mainly it is down to a much larger number of orders per day than say, a B&B would.
"It’s fast food, so the customer expects to get it quickly, leaving less time for staff to focus on cleaning and paperwork.
“Customers should be aware of Food Hygiene ratings, so they can spend their money in businesses that invest in their safety.
"They should be easier to access but I believe this could only be achieved by making it mandatory for businesses to display their ratings.”
Richard Anderson, Head of Learning Development at High Speed Training, added: “One of the biggest responsibilities as a food establishment is ensuring that food safety and hygiene practices are thorough and up to date.
"This is why it’s so important to look at the rating accredited by the FHRS as it’s a direct reflection of how that establishment operates and the importance it places on its livelihood.
“As our analysis shows, on a whole, ratings are fairly high across the whole of the country with every single region in the UK improving their average food hygiene score from 2019.
"However, for the proportion of establishments with a low hygiene rating, it can be extremely off-putting for customers and ultimately have a significant impact on your reputation and profitability as a business.
“There’s definitely more some establishments can do to improve their hygiene rating, firstly ensuring that all relevant staff have up to date food hygiene training and are aware of their specific responsibilities.
"It’s then a case of implementing good practices every day to stay on top of hygiene standards."
To view the report in full, and to see how your area compares to others, visit https://www.highspeedtraining.co.uk/hub/food-hygiene-ratings-report-2022/