Food hygiene ratings “more important than ever”

Food hygiene ratings are proving more important than ever, with over two thirds of people (69%) now actively checking ratings before deciding where to eat, according to a new report from NFU Mutual.

A Fresh Look at Food Hygiene reveals how more than a third of people (34%) will turn away at a rating of 3 or less, while those restaurants rated 3 and below could already be losing out on possible income, as the public are willing to spend on average £8 more (nearly double) on a meal at a restaurant rated 5 (£17.31 vs. £8.97).

According to the National Audit Office (NAO) around one million people in the UK suffer a food-related illness each year, potentially costing up to £1bn in lost earnings for businesses and hospital admissions.

The report also shows proposals for mandatory display of hygiene stickers in England have gained stronger support from consumers in recent years, with 91% in favour in 2019 compared with 88% when consumers were surveyed for the 2017 report.

Wales and Northern Ireland have already been subscribed to mandatory display of food hygiene ratings schemes for a number of years, with positive impacts reported for both consumers and businesses.

Denise Rion, head of technical at the British Frozen Food Federation, said: “With consumers increasingly demanding better-quality foods at the lowest possible price, the pressure is on for the industry. We need to ensure that food not only reaches the customer’s plate in the very best condition, but that it is also safe to eat.

“This requires careful attention not just in the factory but throughout the entire supply chain. From the design and layout of the equipment, to selecting the right cleaning chemicals, adherence to proper hygiene standards is essential.”

To request a free PDF copy of the full report, visit

Campden BRI, a partner of the NFU Mutual Report, gives these top tips for creating a food safety culture:

• Consider the cleanability of surface finishes on walls, ceilings and worktops

• Consider filtration and controlled directional movement to eliminate cross-contamination

• Make equipment easy to access and as clean as possible

• Get a fresh pair of eyes into the workspace to help spot issues missed by those in the environment every day

• Use of the right protective clothing, footwear and hairnets is essential

• Design of the changing, hand washing and sanitation facilities is also crucial

• Hand hygiene must not be neglected, even in pressured production environments – both the disinfectant and the hand-washing technique are critical