Of more than six hundred West Sussex residents, 98% felt that it should be compulsory for business to display food hygiene ratings.
These are the results of a poll by West Sussex Trading Standards.
It also showed that 41% would not eat at a business that does not display their rating voluntarily and 57% would only buy from a business rated 4 (Good) or 5 (Very Good).
Ratings range from 0 (Urgent Improvement Required) to 5 (Very Good) and are typically given to places where food is supplied.
The results of the poll will be used to influence local food businesses and encourage them to improve their rating.
It is currently voluntary in England for food businesses including restaurants, pubs, cafes, takeaways, hotels and supermarkets to display their hygiene rating.
Debbie Kennard, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Safer, Stronger Communities, said: “These results are incredibly interesting and show just how important food hygiene ratings are to West Sussex consumers.
“It clearly shows the standards expected of food businesses and will hopefully encourage those who fall short of the higher ratings to book a place on one of our courses and learn how to improve.”
Peter Aston, West Sussex Trading Standards Team Manager, said: “These results show it makes commercial sense for local food businesses, not only to secure a high food hygiene rating but also to ensure it is prominently displayed.
“If they are struggling to reach the criteria, I would strongly encourage booking a place on one of our business support courses to help them secure the custom of West Sussex residents.”
Trading Standards run Gain and Maintain a 5-star rating workshop in partnership with Horsham District Council Environmental Health Officers to help food businesses improve their hygiene ratings. Also included is the training and materials a food business needs to implement a robust allergens control management system – on average over 10 people a year die from anaphylaxis due to consuming an undeclared food allergen at a catering business.
The next course is taking place on Friday 12 October from 10am to 1pm at Centenary House, Worthing.