Food safety blitz on Sydney restaurants set to begin

Posted by Isobel Drake on 3rd September 2008

The Iemma Government and local councils will conduct targeted inspections across Sydney restaurants, as part of a major crackdown on food outlets, Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald announced today.The announcement comes eight weeks after the introduction of food safety laws empowering councils as food safety enforcers and new “name and shame” legislation  allowing the NSW Food Authority to publish food law violations on its website.

Mr Macdonald said a joint taskforce between the Food Authority and local councils will be formed. “The blitz on Sydney restaurants is to ensure consumers are protected from getting a foodborne illness and to maintain Sydney’s great reputation for dining out,” Mr Macdonald said. “The crackdown on Sydney eateries will start in the near future, Food Authority and council officers will perform unannounced inspections over several months.

Mr Macdonald believes that the majority are meeting their food safety obligations but there are still some who flaunt food safety guidelines. “Most food outlets are doing the right thing, but those that are not will be forced to clean up their act,” he warned. “New food safety laws introduced by the Iemma Government that took full effect from 1 July give local councils more clout in cracking down on food outlets that don’t come up to scratch. Councils’ role in food regulation is clearer and better coordination with the Food Authority allows quicker responses to protect NSW consumers from eating at sub-standard food outlets.”

“Those food outlets that are found to be wanting and are issued with a penalty notice will see their details appear on the Food Authority’s ‘name and shame’ website for anyone to see,” Mr Macdonald advised before highlighting the popularity of the website.

“From today there are 183 offences in 32 NSW council areas listed on the Food Authority website and there were over 79,000 visitors to the website to August, which shows it is providing valuable information to the community,” he said.

The Food Authority name and shame website is at: www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/aboutus/offences.