A shocking revelation that 148 food safety complaints have been reported to the Sutherland Shire County regarding cafes, restaurants and other businesses resulted in only 6 fines. Another 50 businesses had to undergo on-going monitoring and intervention while 12 improvement notices were issued. 38 warning letters were sent and council officers made 1808 inspections of the 749 businesses in the Shire considered to be high risk, while 141 were rated to be medium risk.
According to a post on The Leader website, there were 3 restaurants that ignored warnings from authorities and were listed on the NSW Food Authority’s name and shame website last year.
They were, Franklins in Westfield Miranda and Engadine, Bangor Hot Bread and La Zona Café at Gymea.
La Zona Café received warnings before being fined $440 for failing to maintain the premises, fixtures, fittings and equipment to the required cleanliness standards while Bangor Hot Bread was fined the same amount for having a hand wash basin which was obstructed despite previous warnings. Franklins in Westfield Miranda and Engadine also received warnings from council inspectors for selling food past its use-by dates and had to pay $800.
However the council’s aim is not just to name and shame businesses, their main objective is to work in conjunction with businesses to help them adhere to food safety standards in order to keep consumers and customers safe. This involves the continuous monitoring of food prep areas equipment and safety practices and issuing spot fines if necessary.
Businesses need to be continuously on their A game to ensure that food safety and cleanliness are a top priority to avoid presenting a risk to public health. This is excellent news for consumers who can be sure of a safer dining experience when they choose to step out to eat. And according to the government their plans are working with compliance rates across the state showing an improvement and resulting in less food poisoning cases.
The following post from TheLeader.com.au has more:
The figures were included in the 2011-2012 local government activity report on food safety, released recently by Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson.
A council spokeswoman said its policy was to work with food businesses to help them comply with required standards under the law.
“Our focus is to monitor the standards that deal with construction of food preparation areas, food equipment and food safety practices,” she said.
“Where a business fails an inspection on a regular basis council can issue an on-the-spot fine.
“If a business consistently breaches the standards and there is a public health issue, court action can be taken.”
The spokeswoman said the government requirement for most food businesses to nominate a food safety supervisor by October 2011 had been instrumental in raising the standard in many outlets.
Ms Hodgkinson said food safety compliance rates across the state had increased, resulting in less chance of food poisoning.
There had been fewer penalties, seizures and prosecutions for serious non-compliance compared with the previous four years.
“The results of this enforcement hierarchy also highlighted that intervention and business support are effective means of encouraging compliance,” she said.
For more information regarding governments operations and shire listings go to: http://foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/news/offences