The significant number of food outlets that are flunking their hygiene and safety tests has been highlighted by the Examiner.

The nationally run ‘Scores On The Doors’ scheme rates takeaways, cafes, restaurants and anywhere that serves food to customers.

Venues are given scores between zero (urgent improvement necessary) and five (very good).

Inspectors have found cockroaches, mice droppings and traces of faeces in the food in outlets with the worst scores.

Earlier this week we revealed nine pubs across Kirklees had got just one star in recent months.

In January the Examiner unveiled 17 food outlets that were zero rated, most of which were takeaways.

Many of those with low ratings have complained or claimed that the website is out of date and they are now compliant.

Are they trying to pull the wool over our eyes?

Food Standards Agency - one star hygiene rating (major improvement necessary)
Food Standards Agency - one star hygiene rating (major improvement necessary)

Here we look at how the scheme is run, how often venues are checked and whether it is compulsory to take part.

Q: Who carries out the inspections and how often?

A: Local authorities, such as Kirklees and Calderdale councils, are responsible for carrying out inspections of food businesses to check that they meet the requirements of food hygiene law. Depending on what they find they may come back in six months. But it could be up to three years between inspections.

Q: What are outlets rated on?

A: How hygienically the food is handled, how it is prepared, cooked, re-heated, cooled and stored. The condition of the structure of the buildings such as the cleanliness, layout, lighting, ventilation and other facilities. How the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe. More detail on the inspection standards is available at

Q: Is it mandatory to display how many stars you scored?

A: Not yet ... but it will be. In Wales and in Northern Ireland it is compulsory to display them. England has started the process of preparing similar legislation. Local councils are no longer obliged to provide certificates but they are required to provide stickers.

Q:How up to date is the information?

A: New information is updated every night from the central database. It typically takes between two and four weeks from the date of the inspection for the council to process the information and notify the proprietor before they upload it to the central database.

Q: What happens to the worst places?

A: Where a business is identified as failing – a score of 2 or below – officers will re-visit soon after the initial inspection to ensure issues identified during the initial inspection have been rectified. But this revisit will not result in a new score being issued.

Q: Can restaurant owners ask for their premises to be checked again?

A: Yes, they can get in touch with the food safety team at Kirklees and ask to be re-inspected, but it could take up to six months to arrange.

Q: What if the food business I am interested in is not listed?

A: It may be that no inspection has taken place yet as the venue is new. In certain cases, Kirklees Council might decide to withhold details from the site for instance if there was a prosecution case pending.