Hartlepool has come out above the regional average for the percentage of food outlets given a good or very good hygiene rating.
In Hartlepool, only 55 out of 742 business have a rating of less than 4 (good rating), equivalent to just 7%.
And in County Durham, 494 firms out of a total of 4,208 venues have a rating below 4, just under 12%.
The regional average is 11.4%. The ratings are correct as of the middle of January this year.
More than 88% of businesses in the North East that serve or sell food have a food hygiene rating of 4 or 5 (very good).
Mr Seward continued: “It’s fantastic to see that 88% of food outlets in the North East have a rating of good or very good and the industry as a whole is taking real pride in food hygiene, but imminent compulsory displays are destined to be a game changer for those businesses struggling to reach the top grades.
“In advance of legislation changes, all business owners should prioritise their food hygiene plans and processes, acting now to ensure that they have considered all hygiene and paperwork aspects rated by their local authority including cleanliness, structure and confidence in management, to ensure a continued rating of 4 or 5 for the day an inspector calls.”
Wales and Northern Ireland have already subscribed to mandatory display of food hygiene ratings schemes, with new legislation set to come into force in England by 2019
Mandatory display means any outlet must display its score in a prominent place.