Canberra eateries are being warned by authorities to lift their standards of hygiene following the issuance of 163 improvement notices recently.
According to media reports, health food safety officers in the ACT inspected 810 restaurants, cafes and food stalls during the last half of last year and this resulted in 20 per cent of them being issued improvement notices for not complying with food safety standards.
Data shows that these figures are up from 11 per cent for the same period in the previous year (2012) when a total of 649 inspections were conducted and 73 notices were subsequently issued.
Authorities say that the majority of problems were related to hand washing facilities in food preparation areas and general kitchen cleanliness. Inspectors also found some businesses weren’t storing food correctly at the right temperatures.
An article on Abc.net.au quoted The ACT’s chief health officer Dr Paul Kelly who explained the issues in greater detail:
“We have our list of things that we know are more likely to cause problems,” ACT chief health officer Dr Paul Kelly said.
“Most of our outbreaks of salmonella over the last few years have been related to eggs, egg products, and chicken, so those things we look at carefully.”
Dr Kelly also went on to explain that most of the inspections were carried out in response to complaints from the public or even worse because of outbreaks of infectious diseases. Despite the concerns, only one prohibition notice was issued. The article on Abc.net.au goes on to explain that most eateries in Canberra are doing the right thing when it comes to food safety and hygiene and these businesses need to be recognised,
“Eighty per cent of our inspections were completely fine,” he said.
“I think it’s time we start to think about how we reward those businesses for doing the right thing, acknowledging that most of the businesses in Canberra are at an excellent standard.”
There are more than 2,800 registered food businesses in Canberra, and Dr Kelly says overall the city’s eateries have good food-safety standards.
“The industry has taken this on as a major issue to look at,” he said.
“We’ve taken on a much more educative approach over the last couple of years, for example we’ve updated out guidelines and translated that into 13 languages and distributed it widely.
The first step for businesses in Canberra, throughout the ACT and Oz is to ensure that all food preparation and food service staff have undergone Food Handling and Food Safety training – this will ensure that they are aware of safe food handling and hygiene methods and the importance of practicing them every day on the job.
To find out more about Food Hygiene and Safety or to register for the course, visit our homepage today.