Food Standards Agency hygiene ratings awarded to food outlets in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, reveal standards vary widely between different areas and between High Street chains.

The ratings, published by consumer watchdog Which?, reveal, for example, that while one postcode area in Birmingham received no ratings below “generally satisfactory”, 45% of eateries in a south east London postcode received lower than “generally satisfactory”.

Poor hygiene where food is stored, prepared or cooked can cause food poisoning. Many cases will present only mild symptoms, but more serious attacks can lead to life changing or fatal injuries. Bacterial food poisoning, the most common type, can be caused by bacteria such as Botulism, E-coli, or Salmonella.

Peter Mulhern, serious injury solicitor for Thompsons Solicitors said: “These findings are worrying for all diners. Which? is right to say that all outlets serving food to the public should display their food hygiene score prominently to allow people to choose to eat there or not. As we enter the summer months it is even more important that food is correctly stored and handled.”