DINERS in Cherwell district can eat out with confidence after the district council came top in a food hygiene league table.

The survey of 398 local authorities by Which? ranked the North Oxfordshire council as the best for food hygiene enforcement for the second consecutive year.

Rankings for other districts in Oxfordshire ranged from 19th to 223rd and the survey authors claimed food hygiene is a postcode lottery.

The Which? survey, published today, was based on the latest data that had been submitted by local authorities to the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

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Deputy Cherwell leader George Reynolds said: “Despite the fact that nowadays there are not as many officers and not as much money in local government, they clearly have a good system and keep on top of their work.”

Vale of White Horse district came 19th, with South Oxfordshire district at 34, West Oxfordshire at 67 and Oxford City Council at 223.

The rankings were based on the proportion of premises ranked as medium or high risk that were later found to be compliant with food hygiene requirements. They were also based on the percentage of premises rated for risk, and the proportion of inspections and follow-up visits carried out.

Enfield, in London, was the poorest performing local authority in the country, joined by the City of Edinburgh and five other London boroughs at the bottom of the list.

Which? director, Richard Lloyd, said: “Our research reveals a shocking postcode lottery on food hygiene, where in some places you may as well toss a coin before deciding which restaurant to trust with your health.”

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