MP: Taxpayers should not foot the bill for retesting restaurants with poor food hygiene ratings

Taxpayers should not foot the bill for restaurants to be re-inspected after receiving poor food hygiene reports, according to Lichfield’s MP.

Michael Fabricant

Michael Fabricant

Michael Fabricant has also called for eateries to be forced to put their hygiene ratings on display.

His comments come after the MP tabled Parliamentary Written Questions to ministers at the Department of Health and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Mr Fabricant wants England to adopt the Welsh model, which legally requires hygiene ratings to be on display to customers.

“It is time for England to follow the model in Wales and I shall be meeting with the Welsh Secretary, Stephen Crabbe, and ministers from DEFRA and the Department of Health to encourage the Food Standards Agency in England to move quickly on this,” he said.

“Hygiene ratings should be visible with the scores being ideally placed in the restaurant window or door before you enter.

“TripAdvisor scores are often on display, but they don’t indicate the safety of the food being served. This has got to change.

“And if a restaurant owner is able to make improvements and wants a quick re-inspection and regrading, he or she should pay the local council for the inspection – it should not be for the taxpayer to subsidise the restaurant as we all do now.”

Mr Fabricant added that more needed to be done to raise standards.

“I was shocked to learn from a constituent that one of the many Indian restaurants I visit in Lichfield has consistently scored just one out of five for food hygiene following inspections from environmental health officers,” he said. “This is being replicated up and down towns and villages in England.

“That score of one means ‘major improvement in health standards’ are urgently required. Only a score of zero is lower.

“At present, many restaurants can get away with poor standards unless they are closed down by the local authority – but that is the ‘nuclear’ and costly option.

“In Wales, it is the law for all restaurants to display their hygiene score so that they are visible to their potential customers and that makes a major incentive to restaurant owners to raise standards and quickly too.”

People can currently view Staffordshire food hygiene reports on the RateMyPlace website.

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.