Would you be keen on ordering food from a restaurant or takeaway if you knew it had the lowest rating of zero?

The score, the lowest of six that can be given from 0 to 5, means urgent improvements are needed.

We regularly highlight the zero-rated premises in the city as well as the cleanest ones.

And now the food delivery service Just Eat has pledged to ban all Birmingham food outlets with a zero rating.

It will also give funding to those with a rating of two or lower to bring them up to its minimum requirement of a three.

Just Eat has more than 900 Birmingham outlets on its app.

Just Eat says hundreds of Birmingham takeaways will be available for food orders on Christmas Day
 

The plans are part of its food safety improvement programme for the UK's takeaway sector, with a commitment of £1 million to raise hygiene and safety standards.

Under the scheme all zero-rated restaurants across the UK will be removed from the platform from May 1, and restaurants with a food hygiene rating of 2 or lower will receive funding to get up to the required level.

All new restaurant sign-ups will have to meet the minimum standard of three.

Delivered by global food safety consultants NSF, the package of support will include a one-to-one visit from an expert food safety practitioner and the provision of a detailed action plan on how to make any required improvements.

Takeaway owners will also be given access to resources and guidance on how to request a re-inspection from their local authority to gain a new rating.

 

Just Eat already offers food hygiene and safety training to every restaurant that signs up to its platform free of charge.

Curry dishes from Just Eat
 

Graham Corfield, managing director of Just Eat in the UK, said: "At Just Eat, we’re focused on helping the UK’s vibrant takeaway sector grow and thrive.

"We know that running a small, independent business is not without its challenges, and food hygiene and safety is a vital area that restaurants need to get right.

 

"This is why we have an ever-evolving programme of work dedicated to raising food safety standards across the entire takeaway sector.

"The vast majority of the UK’s takeaway restaurants have good food hygiene standards already, but today’s investment means those that need extra help can now access bespoke support for free.

"Helping our customers access brilliant food and supporting restaurants to prosper and grow is what Just Eat is here to do.

"This investment will help ensure the takeaway sector continues to improve and meet customers’ high expectations."

Takeaway food on Just Eat
 

Just Eat announced in December 2018 that it will include the official food hygiene rating of each of its UK restaurant partners directly on its platform both in-app and online.

Displaying food hygiene ratings is currently underway in Northern Ireland and will be rolled out across the whole of the UK in the coming months.

 

A restaurant’s food hygiene rating will automatically update if it changes following a local authority inspection.

This means Just Eat will receive a notification if a restaurant falls below a hygiene rating of three so that it can contact the restaurant to offer access to the new food safety programme.

Access to Level 2 food hygiene training and certification has also been on offer to every business on the platform since 2016, and in 2018 Just Eat partnered with Checkit, a digital food safety management software provider, to allow restaurants to access new digital food safety systems at industry-leading rates.

Heather Hancock, chairman of the Food Standards Agency said: "I warmly welcome Just Eat’s significant new investment in food safety.

"The company influences thousands of food businesses and reaches millions of customers. 

Below, Just Eat makes some big changes:

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"Quite rightly, Just Eat is making clear that food safety and hygiene must be a top priority for all their partner businesses. 

"I’m delighted that, from today, all new businesses joining the Just Eat platform must have a food hygiene rating of 3 or more and I strongly encourage Just Eat to apply the ‘minimum 3 rating’ across their platform as soon as practicable.

"This clear commitment to consumers - plus financial support from Just Eat for businesses to improve where they aren’t up to scratch - is the kind of leadership we expect and I believe it will drive up standards for the benefit of all."