All restaurants and takeaways should be forced to display their food hygiene ratings, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).

It argues that a ‘scores on the doors’ policy should be made mandatory under British law once the UK leaves the European Union.

Council environmental health teams score food outlets from zero to five based on factors such as kitchen cleanliness, cooking methods and food management.

In Wales and Northern Ireland, businesses are legally obliged to openly display their rating but this is not the case across the whole of the UK.

With outlets with poorer scores less likely to publicise them, the LGA believes the legal changes that will come about after Brexit should be used to improve transparency over food hygiene.

It added that the current EU regulations, which are vital to improving standards and reducing the risk to people of eating unsafe food cooked in dirty kitchens, are good and should be maintained.

Cllr Simon Blackburn, chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities board, said: “The lack of a hygiene rating sticker in a business means customers are left in the dark on official kitchen cleanliness levels when eating or buying food there.

“A food hygiene rating distinguishes between appearance and reality. A food outlet may have nice décor but that doesn’t mean that hygiene standards are good enough to avoid being served a ‘dodgy’ burger or salad that could pose a serious risk to someone’s health.

“Councils have seen some shocking examples of poor or dangerous hygiene and always take action to improve standards at rogue food premises.

“Making the display of hygiene ratings compulsory in England is good for business.

“Not only would it incentivise food outlets to improve or maintain high hygiene standards - which would reduce the risk of illness for customers - it would also improve consumer confidence and save taxpayers’ money by reducing the need for, and cost of, enforcement action by councils.”

Earlier this year, Harrow Council ordered a fast food shop to pay tens of thousands of pounds after food inspectors found evidence of mouse droppings and rotting vegetables.

Mama’s Kitchen in Northolt Road was hit with a £21,000 fine and its owner was banned for life from running a food business.