BOLTON is one of the worst rated places for food hygiene in the UK, according to a new poll.

Environmental Health Officers visit food businesses and award them a rating out of five, based on criteria such as hygienic food handling, physical condition of the premises and facilities, and food safety management.

Of 673 premises in Bolton, the average rating is just 3.83.

Only Birmingham, Luton and Walsall have a lower rating in the whole of the UK, according to a report by online training provider High Speed Training.

According to the Food Standards Agency website, there are currently eight restaurants in Bolton with the minimum rating of zero.

Among these are Nabzy’s in Chorley Old Road, Portofinos in St George’s Road, and Kani Restaurant, in Derby Street.

Hama Said, who owns Kani Resturant said the takeaway is under new management since the ratings were taking and a lot has been changed.

He said: "It was a long time ago.

"I've changed the kitchen, we've got new management, we've changed everythign.

"They're coming back soon to check it again."

The North West as a region was the third worst in the UK, with an average rating of 4.29 from 27,405 premises.

Takeaways were the biggest offenders across the UK, with one in nine rated two or lower. 

Lee Batchelor, who led the data team on the project said: “Our report aims to improve consumers’ understanding of the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, so they can make informed decisions around where to eat and drink.

“The ratings are based on more than just personal hygiene. There are different areas of inspection and the schemes do have their limitations. It’s just about understanding that and knowing where to get the right information”.

The ratings are 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. 

In Wales and Northern Ireland, it is compulsory for businesses to display their food hygiene rating. 

However, in England it is currently just considered best practice. Calls are now increasing for the mandatory display of food hygiene ratings in England.

Analyst Adam Rhodes said: “We also wanted businesses to know how much consumers care about food hygiene standards. The newest public attitudes report from the FSA shows 84 per cent are aware of food safety outside of the home, and public consciousness is growing. 

“One poor inspection could really damage your business.”

The findings follow Bolton being named as the seventh ‘unhealthiest town’ in the UK, last November.  

Research by the Royal Society for Public Health found that residents living in towns with lots of bookies and off-licences die younger than those with plenty of libraries and pharmacies.

The report also found that Bolton has the second highest percentage of empty shops — with 26.4 per cent of retail outlets unoccupied.

See later this month when we reveal the full hygiene ratings for Bolton’s takeaways.