Wigan Ranks Worst In The North West For Food Hygiene

But which areas of the region came out on top?

Written by  Deanna Thomas | Follow @DeannaThomas | Monday, 6 February 2017 11:23

THE FOOD Standards Agency has just revealed the hygiene rating results of nearly 9,000 North West food businesses.

More than 84% of businesses in the North West that serve or sell food have a food hygiene rating of 4 (good) or 5 (very good)

A breakdown of the figures for local authorities in Greater Manchester revealed that Bury food businesses came out top with only 9.43% failing to score a rating higher than three. Wigan, however, came out bottom with just over 38% rated 3 and below (ironic, considering the town is famous for producing vinegar, one of the best natural cleaning agents around).

Over 20% of food businesses in Bolton, Tameside and Trafford scored either 3 out of 5 or below for food hygiene, whilst St Helens (25.62%) and Hyndbarn (21.82%) in Lancashire also made the North West's naughty list.

The top performing areas in North West, meanwhile, were Eden (3.24%) and Warrington (5.44%) in Cheshire, the Ribble Valley (4.11%) and Rossendale (4.65%) in Lancashire, and South Lakeland (5.76%) in Cumbria.

The cities of Manchester and Salford scored 19.98% and 19.05% respectively.

More than 84% of businesses in the North West that serve or sell food have a food hygiene rating of 4 (good) or 5 (very good).

How did the ten boroughs of Greater Manchester fare? 

Borough - Number of businesses - Number of 3 star ratings and below - % of 3 star ratings and below

Bury - 912 - 86 - 9.43%

Rochdale - 1496 - 254 - 16.98%

Stockport - 1985 - 374 - 18.84%

Salford - 1874 - 357 - 19.05%

Oldham - 1734 - 331 - 19.09%

Manchester - 4330 - 865 - 19.98%

Trafford - 2049 - 424 - 20.69%

Tameside - 1357 - 299 - 22.03%

Bolton - 2237 - 528 - 23.60%

Wigan - 2136 - 813 - 38.06%

It has become commonplace for any outlet that serves or sells food (restaurants, pubs, cafes, takeaways, hotels, etc.) to display their hygiene ratings in a prominent place, but according to the Food Standards Agency’s strategy for 2015-2020, it’s not yet compulsory to do so in England.

Most of us have seen such ratings on windows or entrances, ranging from 0 (urgent improvement necessary) to 5 (very good), but a study by NFU Mutual reveals that 79% of people in the North are currently unaware of the food hygiene ratings for their favourite food outlets. The research also revealed that only 1 in 20 people would not be influenced by food hygiene ratings.

Obviously getting a good rating is crucial to a business’s reputation, but failing to safeguard the health of customers can also come with a hefty price tag from a public liability claim or a health and safety dispute. Over one third of people asked admitted that if their favourite restaurant had scored 3 out of 5 (‘generally satisfactory’) or less, they would stop visiting altogether.

Top 5 Best Performing in the North West:

Borough - Number of businesses - Number of 3 star ratings and below - % of 3 star ratings and below

Eden, Cheshire - 895 - 29 - 3.24%

Ribble Valley, Lancashire - 632 - 26 - 4.11%

Rossendale, Lancashire - 602 - 28 - 4.65%

Warrington, Cheshire - 1783 - 97 - 5.44%

South Lakeland, Cumbria - 1666 - 96 - 5.76%

Top 5 Worst Performing in the North West:

Borough - Number of businesses - Number of 3 star ratings and below - % of 3 star ratings and below

Wigan, Greater Manchester - 2136 - 813 - 38.06%

St Helens, Lancashire - 1097 - 281 - 25.62%

Bolton, Greater Manchester - 2237 - 528 - 23.60%

Tameside, Greater Manchester - 1357 - 299 - 22.03%

Hyndburn, Lancashire - 683 - 149 - 21.82%

Trust, it seems is a hard thing to win back once lost and poor ratings can have a lasting effect. Over half admitted that even if food businesses with a once poor food hygiene rating had made substantial changes to improve their rating, the damage would be done and they’d still be wary of going back there.

As expected, people’s expectations of food hygiene ratings varied to a large extent by establishment: 61% of respondents expect fine dining restaurants, hotel restaurants, bakeries, and delicatessens to have good food hygiene, whilst less than a third expected that from fast food restaurants. Around only a quarter expected takeaways to have a good rating, while hygiene expectations of artisan markets and food stalls were surprisingly low with scores of 18% and 12% respectively.

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