The figures show that of the 20,825 catering premises inspected last year, 7,781 infringed food hygiene laws. Restaurants and caterers are by far the largest sector in the food industry.
Seventy per cent of the Scottish population regularly or occasionally eat out and the Food Standards Agency Scotland is committed to working with the catering industry as part of a wide-ranging campaign to improve food hygiene.
Dr George Paterson, Director of FSA Scotland, said:
"Consumers are entitled to eat out safely. Whether it's a quick bite to eat in a café or a meal at a top class hotel, everyone deserves to be able to enjoy their food without fear of falling ill. A food hygiene failure rate of one-third for restaurants and other catering establishments is simply unacceptable. Many premises do have a high stndards but those standards should apply equally across the country. That is why we will be working closely with the catering industry as part of our campaign to drive up hygiene standards.
"We will also continue to work closely with local authorities to ensure they use their extensive powers to inspect premises and take the necessary action against those which are not up to scratch. We have just started a rolling programme of local authority audits to ensure standards are enforced consistently across Scotland.
"Consumers have an important role to play too. Only three-quarters of people in Scotland who experienced food poisoning last year actually reported it. We want to see far more people reporting illness or poor standards to their local environmental health department."
The following notes are included: