Shocking examples of poor hygiene and gross neglect of food safety has been highlighted by the NSW Food Authority.
Some of the discoveries made by the NSW Food Authority over the last 6 years involving nearly 300 supermarkets, green grocers and delis included rodent and bug infestation as well as filth and expired food being sold.
An informative article on Smh.com.au recently highlighted the shocking breaches of food safety with one store in particular being the biggest offender. The IGA Plus Liquor Store in East Lindfield is the worst repeat offender and received around 11 fines for breaching food safety legislation. The fines were dished out to the amount of $5280 over the last 6 years.
According to the article, the liquor store was fined just 2 years ago after they were caught displaying food for sale that was past its use-by dates. The store’s owners obviously didn’t learn their lesson and repeated the same offence again.
Last year the store received an additional 3 fines for selling feta cheese that was past its expiration date, together with expired quince paste and steak.
According to the post, an analysis of almost 600 penalty notices issued to grocers across NSW indicated that one in 10 notices were as a result of selling expired food. Other common food safety breaches related to the failure to eradicate bug and rodent infestations, as well as failure to display potentially hazardous food under temperature control.
Filthy premises and equipment and products that were incorrectly labelled were also commonly occurring breaches.
The following excerpt from the Smh.com.au article quoted an unnamed employee of IGA East Lindfield,
An employee at IGA East Lindfield, who refused to be named, said a Ku-ring-gai Council food inspector had fined them on ”very little things that shouldn’t be an offence”, such as running out of paper towels for the staff’s hand basin.
The fines for selling expired food were unfair, he said.
”They say the food expired yesterday and you’ve got it on the shelf. [We] come early in the morning to clear that stuff, but if they see it [beforehand], it’s a fine.”
Another outlet named and shamed is the Soug Fruit and Veg Deli in Westfield Burwood, having received 6 fines to the value of $5060 in February last year. Their offences related to incorrect storage of food on the cold room floor as well as unclean fixtures and fittings. They were also fined because of the rodent activity.
According to the article, the NSW Food Authority has issued more than $400,000 in fines since 2008 from offending supermarkets, grocery stores and delicatessens.
The Authority confirmed that the compliance rate for all food businesses in the area was between 89 and 93 per cent in the past financial year.
Even the larger supermarket chains received fines relating to food safety and hygiene breaches. 14 Coles stores and 8 Woolworths stores received 10 fines.