In the last month, four restaurants have received a one-out-of-five rating for their hygiene and another has been given a zero.

The ratings, given as "snapshots" of the hygiene at an eating establishment, are given by the council who send inspectors unannounced to assess and rate the safety of the business.

They will look at the handling of food, how it is stored and prepared, the cleanliness of the facility and how it is managed.

A rating will be given from zero (urgent improvement is required) to five (hygiene standards are very good).

However, it is not a legal requirement for the business to display its rating.

Businesses with low ratings will be told to make improvements, with a timescale given to them by the inspector.

The Food Standards Agency guidelines read: "If the officer finds that a business’s hygiene standards are very poor and there is an imminent risk to public health, when food may be unsafe to eat, the officer must act to ensure consumers are protected. This could result in stopping part of the business or closing it down completely until it is safe to recommence."

This has been the case at New Shahi Spice on Slough High Street after it was slammed with an emergency closure order and zero hygiene rating after it was found to have poor hygiene standards and a rodent infestation.

READ MORE: 'Extensive mice infestation' found at New Shahi Spice

The four restaurants given the 'major improvement is necessary' rating of one this month, include Cien Forever at The Village on High Street.

They were inspected on February 8 by Slough Borough Council.

It comes less than one month after Cien Forever launched on January 11 with the help of councillors.

Also newly opened in the area is Hola Cafe at The Urban Building on Albert Street which launched on January 15, but inspectors on February 6 said it needed major improvements.

Rusto, on the High Street, a takeaway and sandwich shop was visited by inspectors on the same day, when its hygiene was deemed to be only one-out-of-five.

On January 17 Honey Honey Chicken on the Farnham Road was the latest to be inspected and receive the poor rating.

Last month Colnbrook Food and Wine was also deemed to have a rating of one.

When Slough Borough Council was approached about the concerning rise in low hygiene ratings, a spokesperson said: "We do not recognise there is a ‘surge’, as four of the six premises are newly registered businesses, and this is their initial assessment. 

"One was a one-out-of-five Food Hygiene Rated Scheme previously, and the other was downgraded due to a fall in standards. 

"Food Hygiene standards will vary within businesses, as expected due to numerous factors."

The council inspects businesses based on their risk factor, which they use to consider whether to inspect in six months or three years. 

Meanwhile, newly registered businesses are inspected shortly after registration in line with the Food Standards Agency food law code of practice.

When a hygiene issue is found, such as a rodent infestation, risk to neighbouring properties is assessed on a case-by-case basis and appropriate follow-up action is taken.

The Council follows up with businesses that have been assessed as having a hygiene rating of two or below.