A higher proportion of restaurants, cafes, takeaways and other organisations which serve food, such as hospitals and care homes, fail to meet required standards in Edinburgh than almost anywhere else in Britain.
Only 68 per cent of food businesses reach the standards set out by the Food Standards Agency, while the rest are rated “Improvement Required” by local authority inspectors.
The capital’s eateries score the worst in Scotland, while only Enfield in London ranks lower on the scale UK-wide.
Figures last year showed more than 30 takeaways and restaurants in Edinburgh fell foul of council inspectors between 2013 and 2014.
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND MOBILE APPS
Meanwhile, Perth & Kinross and Falkirk are also in the UK’s bottom ten, ranking sixth and seventh respectively.
Which? spokesman Gordon MacRae said: “Our research reveals a shocking postcode lottery on food hygiene, 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.
Last year, one Edinburgh takeaway, the Tikka Masala Indian Takeaway, in the Pleasance, was banned from serving food for two weeks after inspectors discovered it overrun with mice. They said the premises were “filthy and verminous with an active mouse infestation”.
The Pine Tree Bakery, in the city’s Home Street, was found to have “foul water coming up through the floor into the bakery”, while at Queen Spice, in the High Street in South Queensferry, officers found the entire food production process was not protected against contamination.
No Scottish authorities appear in the top ten of the Which? report, while overall, only four local authorities in Scotland – East Lothian, Inverclyde, North Ayrshire and North Lanarkshire – are in the top half of the UK.
Around half a million people in the UK suffer food poisoning each year, Which? said.
The Scottish system offers just two options to council inspectors – “Pass” and “Requires Improvement”, while the rankings used in England and Wales allows each business to be ranked on a scale of one to five.
Firms are ultimately responsible for complying with hygiene rules, with local authorities enforcing compliance.
Edinburgh council’s community safety leader, Councillor Cammy Day, said: “The City of Edinburgh Council is the top performing local authority in Scotland in terms of taking formal enforcement action against premises that are a risk to health.
“Through this strategy we have been very successful in lowering the overall risk of these contaminations and raising standards throughout the city.
“It is therefore very misleading to compare our overall number of interventions with that of other local authorities who have not adopted this more targeted approach.”
4 Basingstoke and Deane
9 High Peak
10 Weymouth and Portland
2 City of Edinburgh
6 Perth and Kinross