A new study has revealed that food hygiene standards at pubs and bars in Hartlepool are the second best in England.
Out of a total of 356 council areas in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Hartlepool ranked fourth, with an impressive 98.2% of its 109 applicable businesses rated either 4 (Good) or 5 (Very Good).
The figures come from a study carried out by Lovemyvouchers.co.uk into food hygiene ratings for pubs, bars and nightclubs in the United Kingdom.
In order to find out which areas of the country are doing the best when it comes to meeting the Food Standards Agency health and safety standards, it looked at the ratings that businesses have been awarded through local authority inspections under the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.
Every business that serves food is awarded with a hygiene rating between 0 and 5 under the inspection scheme.
In Hartlepool, none of the pubs, bars or clubs were given poor ratings of 0, 1 or 2 at their latest inspection.
The top performer in England was Middlesbrough, with 99.1% of its 106 businesses rated 4 or 5.
While in Northern Ireland two council districts were in the top four - Lisburn and Castlereagh City who had 100% rated 4 or 5.
Dave Bishop, general manager at Yates Hartlepool on Victoria Road, was pleased with the findings.
He said: “I think that is great and very positive news for the town and from a business point of view.
“Having a good food hygiene rating gets people through the door which gives the town a boost.”
Thelma Adams, licensee of The Causeway Inn on Elwick Road, Hartlepool, was pleased with the findings.
The pub serves traditional pies and snacks and has a top hygiene rating of 5.
She said: “I am very pleased to hear this.
“We have five stars again this year which is great and I think this news will be a real boost for the community.”
Linda Firth, a director at LoveMyVouchers.co.uk said: “The study aimed to raise awareness about the ratings.
“There is nothing better than a good pub lunch, but as budgets tighten, food hygiene standards could become increasingly important for diners choosing where to spend their money.”
Food establishments in Wales and Northern Ireland are obliged to clearly display the rating that they receive under the scheme, with England to follow suit from 2019.
Scotland were excluded from the study as they are subject to a different rating system.