A REPORT on food hygiene has ranked Hartlepool fifth out of 398 areas around the country for ensuring good standards.
Carried out by Which? magazine, the study ranked local authorities throughout the country on a range of hygiene measures and will be published in its upcoming March issue.
Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, the leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “Ensuring the highest possible standards of food hygiene in premises across the town is a very high priority for the council and it’s very reassuring to be placed fifth.”
Cherwell in North Oxfordshire topped the list with Enfield being named as the worst alongside five other London councils in the bottom 10.
Businesses around the country are responsible for following hygiene rules, but their local authorities are tasked with making sure they carry them out.
Coun Akers-Belcher added: “As a council we have a duty to protect the public from the risks of food poisoning and we work very closely with food outlets in the town to promote best practice. The council has an extremely dedicated and hard-working team of professional officers that work tirelessly and the results of this survey are testament to their excellent work.”
More than 96 per cent of people said it is important that local authorities ensure compliance with food hygiene rules to avoid food poisoning which is estimated around half a million people a year suffer from.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: “Our research reveals a shocking postcode lottery where in some places you may as well toss a coin before deciding which restaurant to trust with your health.
“Consumers expect local authorities to check that food businesses in their area comply with hygiene standards and rigorously enforce the rules.”
The Top 10:
4. Basingstoke and Deane
9. High Peak
10. Weymouth and Portland
The Bottom 10:
2. City of Edinburgh
6. Perth and Kinross