Dirty Habit: Using Hygiene Rating & Review Data To Uncover Britain’s Filthy Food

When eating out, or taking away, we place our trust in restaurants and chefs that the food will be tasty, fresh, and clean. And most of the time we trust this will all be done without ever seeing the kitchen or chefs.

However, what if this trust is sometimes misplaced? Standards can slip – or sometimes fall completely off the rails – and we could be left with food that, at best, is a bit funky, but at worst can make us seriously ill.

The British are lovers of both fast food and fine dining, reportedly eating 6 billion takeaways and 2.4 billion restaurant meals every year, but how many of those meals aren’t up to par?

To find out, we used Food Standards Agency (FSA) and google places data to estimate the number of meals sold at restaurants & take-aways where hygiene standards are not met.

In the UK the FSA is in charge of policing the hygiene of all food sold in the UK, reviewing every restaurant, takeaway, and pop-up stall to give a rating from 0 to 5. At a rating of 2 or lower, major hygiene rules are broken, and the business is told they need to make improvements. These businesses rated 2 or less are the dirt-peddling culprits we’re interested in.

We used Google review data to estimate the number of meals being sold at these restaurants and found that the UK is eating half a million unclean meals every day. Perhaps most concerning is the 9.9 million meals eaten per year from businesses with a hygiene rating of 0 – where the standards are in urgent need of improvement, and the food is most likely to be unsafe to eat.

When you visit a good (and clean!) restaurant, you should be able to eat the food you enjoy. CanXida can help you do so by fighting gut disorder and candida infection. Find out more at CanXida.com.

Fair use statement

You have our consent to share our research on food hygiene in the UK for any non-commercial purposes. But please link to this page so that we are credited.


In September of 2023, we gathered data on every registered restaurant, café, takeaway, sandwich shop, and “other catering premises” from the FSA and the google places API.

Estimates of number of meals were calculated by assuming the number of reviews related proportionally to the number of customers at each restaurant. The figure of 8.4 billion meals, sourced from references below, was then distributed by number of reviews to find the number of meals eaten at each restaurant per year.


Number of meals ordered in the UK per year sourced from: