How hygienic are food businesses in Birmingham?

Birmingham’s Environmental Health Officers have a responsibility to inspect the hygiene standards of 7,500 food business across Birmingham.

Leaving aside discussion about the scale of this task relative to the size of Birmingham’s Environmental Health team, what do the inspections tell us?

In a recently published factsheet, Birmingham City Council explain that the main reason for undertaking inspections, which inform the food hygiene rating scheme, is to:

reduce the incidence of food borne illness – nationally there are around one million cases recorded a year, including 20,000 hospitalisations and 500 deaths.

The factsheet goes on to say that most food business in Birmingham operate to a good standard.  Phew, I can pop out for lunch tomorrow without worrying unduly…

…Or can i?  A look at the Birmingham food hygiene ratings, which are published on the Food Standards Agency website, shows that ‘mostly good’ is quite a broad brush description to apply.

Data from 29 May 2015, covering 5.837 Birmingham based food businesses, is shown below.

Bham Food Hygiene Ratings


14% of businesses are in need of improvement.  Should we be concerned?


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