Enfield in London has been named the worst area for local authority food hygiene enforcement by Which? Consumer Insight.
After analysing data submitted to the Food Standards Agency by 398 local authorities, Which? has created a food hygiene map of Britain, highlighting the best and worst areas.
Cherwell in Oxfordshire, Brentwood in Essex and Broxbourne in Hertfordshire came top of the list, while Enfield, Edinburgh and Lewisham in London were at the bottom.
In Enfield, only 54 per cent of high and medium risk food businesses were compliant with food hygiene, according to the report.
Here are the worst ten areas:
1 Enfield, London
2 City of Edinburgh, Scotland
3 Lewisham, London
4 Ealing, London
5 Harrow, London
6 Perth and Kinross, Scotland
7 Falkirk, Scotland
8 Birmingham, West Midlands
9 Camden, London
10 Brent, London
The ranking system takes into account the proportion of medium or high risk premises that are compliant with hygiene rules; the proportion of premises inspected and rated by their local authority; and the percentage of planned interventions carried out.
With statistics showing that around half a million of us suffer food poisoning each year, Which? says that in some of the worst performing local authorities, "you might as well toss a coin before deciding which restaurant to trust with your health".
However, Chris Bond, Enfield Council's cabinet member for environment and community safety, told the Daily Telegraph it was "ludicrous" to suggest local authorities that identify the highest-risk food businesses were the ones failing residents. Bond suggested the league table instead held up "light-touch inspection" regimes as best practice.