A REPORT revealing the towns and cities across the West Midlands that score the highest and lowest for their food hygiene ratings has put Dudley in the bottom three.

Dudley ranks 16 out of 18 in the regional list compiled by online training provider High Speed Training, and 11th from bottom in the national rankings (54 out of 63 towns and cities).

The report analysed Food Standards Agency (FSA) data for more than 218,000 food businesses across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Dudley, which is home to 286 food establishments, was given an average score of 4.27.

The lowest average rating in the West Midlands went to Birmingham, with an average score of 4.03, meaning the city ranks joint bottom in the national rankings for towns and cities, tied with Walsall (4.03).

However, both improved their rankings from 2022, by 0.05 and 0.03 respectively.

The top spot in the West Midlands went to Newcastle-Under-Lyme, with an average score of 4.74, placing the area joint ninth in the national rankings for towns and cities.

Stourbridge News: Food hygiene ratings data for the West Midlands anaylysed by High Speed TrainingFood hygiene ratings data for the West Midlands anaylysed by High Speed Training (Image: High Speed Trainng)

High Speed Training’s report also found that more than one in four takeaways (26 per cent) across the West Midlands scored 3 or below for their food hygiene rating.

Overall in the region, 83 per cent of premises scored a 4 or a 5 rating, with 94 per cent of hotels and B&Bs and 86 per cent of restaurants and cafes scoring a 4 or a 5.

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme is a partnership with local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland which aims to provide customers with information on how well a business is upholding food hygiene and safety standards.

Following regular inspections, ratings are devised based on the standard of food handling hygiene, the physical condition of the premises and facilities and food safety management practices.

The ratings are then made available on the Food Standards Agency website and are usually visible from outside of the premises, often presented in a window near the entrance.

Dr Richard Anderson, head of learning and development at High Speed Training, said: “One of the biggest responsibilities as a food establishment is ensuring that food safety and hygiene practices are thorough and up to date.

“This is why it’s so important for customers to check FHRS ratings - they are a direct reflection of how safely and hygienically that establishment operates.

“Our report shows that, on average, standards remain high across the UK, and have slightly improved from 2022. For businesses that perform well, a high rating is a real selling point.

“However, establishments with a low hygiene rating can be extremely off-putting for customers, which ultimately have a significant impact on reputation and profitability.

“Correct food hygiene training for staff, alongside robust food management procedures and everyday good practices are crucial to keep performing at high standards.

“And for those customers turning a blind eye when it comes to checking a hygiene rating, we would definitely urge you not to as ignorance isn’t always bliss.

“We would always recommend checking hygiene ratings before eating at an establishment so you can make an informed call as to whether you eat there.”