Revealed: the worst areas for pub food hygiene

By Daniel Woolfson

- Last updated on GMT

Standards: almost 20% of Newham pubs hold lowest food hygiene ratings
Standards: almost 20% of Newham pubs hold lowest food hygiene ratings

Related tags: County borough, Northern ireland

Four London boroughs have been named and shamed as having some of the worst pub food hygiene standards in the country. 

A survey of 356 English, Welsh and Northern Irish council areas revealed the London borough of Newham had the highest percentage of pubs with low food hygiene ratings.

Some 19.2% of pubs, bars and nightclubs in Newham currently hold a zero, one or two-star rating.

Fellow London boroughs Havering (3rd​), Islington (4th​) and Westminster (9th​) also ranked among the top 10 worst councils for pub food hygiene.

Hygiene increasingly important

Linda Firth, director at, which compiled the results, said: “The study aimed to raise awareness about the ratings. There is nothing better than a good pub lunch but, as budgets tighten, food hygiene standards could become increasingly important for diners choosing where to spend their money.”

Epsom and Ewell (2nd​), Vale of Glamorgan (5th​), South Buckinghamshire (6th​), Rushmoor (7th​), Runnymede (8th​), and Vale of White Horse (10th​) had the worst pub food hygiene ratings outside the capital.

Lisburn & Castlereagh City in Northern Ireland had the best pub food hygiene ratings in the UK with 100% of businesses there given the top scores.

It was followed by Middlesbrough (99.1%), Newry, Mourne & Down (98.4%), Hartlepool (98.2%), North Devon (98.0%), Stevenage (97.7%), Denbighshire (97.4%), Thanet (97.4%), Oadby and Wigston (97.1%) and Mid Ulster (97.1%).

Unwilling to spend

Customers are becoming increasingly unwilling to spend their money in food businesses that achieve lower food hygiene ratings, with a recent report into the ratings scheme by NFU Mutual reporting that almost half of all customers would refuse to dine at a pub that scored below three stars​.

Pubs also fell behind hotels, bakeries, cafés, casual and fine-dining restaurants when it came to consumer perception of their hygiene standards.

Only 24% of diners aged between 18 and 24 generally assumed pubs to have high food hygiene standards, according to NFU Mutual’s research.

Darren Seward, hospitality sector specialist at NFU Mutual, previously said: “This should act as an urgent wake-up call to these businesses – your customers will leave in droves if they believe you are risking their health.”

The worst council areas for pub food hygiene:


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