Licensees need to pay greater regard to basic hygiene practices, or risk losing customers, a new survey has found.
Female customers are the most likely to worry about hygiene in a pub, according to a survey of pub-goers, carried out by pest control company Terminax.
The research found that all food establishments including pubs urgently needed to make amends to alleviate consumers' fears about food contamination.
"If food and catering establishments do not pay greater regard to basic hygiene practices, it will have disastrous effects on their brand's reputation," a spokesman for the company said.
"The research demonstrates just how sensitive consumers are to food and hygiene issues," he added. "If there is any suggestion that food has not been properly prepared - or there is evidence of a pest infestation - customers will not think twice about switching brands, products or places to dine."
Women are more concerned about food safety than men the research discovered. Out of those questioned:
- 56 per cent of female customers worry that food may be poorly prepared and present a health risk
- 100 per cent of both male and female respondents with children said they would eat elsewhere if they thought there was a health risk.
On the back of these renewed calls for better hygiene practices, a spokesman for the Food Standards Agency hinted that the future licensing of all food premises was likely. However, he added that for the time being it was the responsibility of the local authorities to ensure that standards were upheld in all food outlets in their area.