Comment: Time for transparent hygiene rating system

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eating out at one of the city’s many great restaurants – or eating in with a tasty takeaway – is one of the great pleasures of living in Edinburgh.

Few cities anywhere in the world can match what is on offer on our doorstep both in terms of quality and choice. And most of us have enjoyed doing just that plenty of times over the years without encountering any problems. So the protests of restaurateurs that failing to meet Food Standards Agency (FSA) hygeine regulations does not necessarily mean your kitchen is dirty might be founded. Indeed we might want to consider whether our own kitchen at home would pass the rigorous tests before judging any of our local eateries too harshly.

Today’s Which? report does nevertheless raise grounds for concern. Why are a greater proportion of kitchens in the Capital failing these tests than in any other UK city?

Sure the huge number of eating places in Edinburgh leads to a higher turnover of food businesses than in many other cities. That surely accounts for part of the problems as new owners get to grips with everything that is involved in running a restaurant.

It seems that the rules may be applied more strictly here than elsewhere. That’s not necessarily a bad thing for us as consumers.

But are those factors really enough to explain away the city’s position at the bottom of the UK pile? There still will be a lot of concern that we appear to be lagging behind other cities in maintaining the highest standards.

Millions of people put a great deal of trust in Which? when it comes to deciding where they spend their money. So you can be sure that their latest findings will make some people think twice 
before ordering.

The important thing now is winning back the trust of diners. It is surely time to establish a more transparent system which will let everyone see whether or not where they are eating is clean and safe.