FOOD hygiene standards at 14 takeaways, shops and cafes in Blackburn and Darwen need 'urgent improvements,' according to the Food Standards Agency.
Food safety officers visited around 1,000 food selling outlets including work canteens, pubs and butty shops giving them a rating of zero to five.
The Courtyard Cafe at Blackburn College, The Live Lounge and three newsagents were among the worst.
Inspections of the zero-rated premises were carried out between March 2010 and January this year and will have been required urgently to carry out necessary improvements.
But the Scholars and Curve restaurants at the college both received five stars and The Feildens restaurant scored three.
Inspectors will continue to monitor the premises twice a year to make sure improvements are being made.
The council said its officers have always had the option of closing any premises if there was an imminent risk to public health.
A spokesman said: “The star rating scheme is simply another tool which will enable us and the public to identify poorly performing businesses and target what resources we have to help them raise their standards.”
Blackburn with Darwen Council was the first authority in Lancashire to launch the Scores on the Doors rating scheme five years ago.
This graded food outlets from zero, poor, to five star, excellent, based on inspections and confidence in the business’s ability to improve standards.
It has now been replaced by the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) developed by the Food Standards Agency to bring the borough into line with the rest of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The FSA said about one million people suffer from food poisoning every year and the scheme was aimed at tackling the problem.
Sayyed Osman, director of Environment, Housing and Neighbourhoods at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: "Food safety officers inspect a range of premises that sell food to check their hygiene standards meet legal requirements.
“By adopting this new sch-eme local residents can be confident that the same high standards apply wherever they choose to buy food.”
Premises in Blackburn which received the five-star grade include Blackburn Rovers' Blues Bar, King George's Hall, East Lancashire Hospice, Old Bank Lane fish and chip shop, The Postal Order and The Chippery.
The Clog and Billycock, in Billinge End Road, was given a three star rating.
In Darwen, the Alexandra Hotel, Cod Father Express, Darwen Cricket Club, Darwen Fire Station and the Whitehall Hotel all received top marks.
Chorley, Hyndburn, and the Ribble Valley also have information to view on the Food Standards Agency website. The star scoring is made up of factors including how hygienically the food is handled, the condition of the structure of the buildings and how the business manages and records what it does to make sure food is safe.
Each business is given a sticker and certificate which they are encouraged to display at the entrance so customers can decide if they want to go in.
Catriona Stewart, head of the FSA Food Hygiene Ratings Team, said: “Having a single nationwide scheme will mean a level playing field for businesses across the country, and consumers will be able to recognise and use the ratings in their own area, as well as further from home.”
The ratings are available on the FSA website at www. food.gov.uk/rating
Zero-rated Blackburn with Darwen outlets
Adams Newsagents, Whalley New Road, Blackburn (Inspected January 2012).
Bastwell News, Whalley New Road, Blackburn (Inspected January 2012).
Blackburn Foods Ltd, Europa House, Bennington Street, Blackburn (Inspected 10 June 2011).
Courtyard Cafe, Blackburn College, Feilden Street, Blackburn. (Inspected 20 May 2011).
Flames, New Bank Road, Blackburn (Inspected 10 August 2011).
Giovanna's, stall 41, Market Hall Annexe, Croft Street, Darwen. (Inspected January 2012).
Hamilton Groceries, Hamilton Street, Blackburn. (Inspected 17 January 2012).
Hanna's Convenience Store, Infirmary Street, Blackburn (Inspected 18 January 2012).
Intack Mini Market, Accrington Road, Blackburn (Inspected 9 November 2011).
Live Lounge, Northgate, Blackburn (Inspected 19 November 2010).
Nazzorba Kebab House, Whalley New Road, Blackburn. (Inspected 29 March 2010).
Sidra Cash & Carry, Whalley New Road, Blackburn. (Inspected 7 January 2012).
Tabarak Takeaway, Whalley Range, Blackburn. (Inspected 16 January 2012).
The Paper Shop, Shorrock Lane, Blackburn. (18 January 2012).
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