Consumers would welcome a national food hygiene rating scheme for cafés, restaurants, shops and bars, reports the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

It has published the results of independent consumer research into how to ensure the national scheme known as ’Scores on the Doors’ is easy to understand and use. Due to launch in the autumn, it will give consumers information about standards of food hygiene in the outlets.

Sarah Appleby, FSA head of enforcement, said: "Publishing individual hygiene ratings for cafés, shops and restaurants will give diners and shoppers information to help them choose the safest place to buy food and, over time, will help prevent food poisoning estimated to cost the economy about £1.5bn a year."

For the ratings, consumers liked a simple numerical scale, with associated descriptors such as ’very good’ or ’satisfactory’.