Food business rating scheme earmarked for Queensland
New legislation passed yesterday by the Queensland Parliament will allow a government-led food business rating scheme to be introduced across Queensland.
The Health Legislation Amendment Bill 2011, tabled by Health Minister Geoff Wilson, was passed just days after Queensland Health unveiled figures that suggest there are more cases of food poisoning in Queensland than any other Australian State.
According to Queensland Health, more than 7,700 cases of the most common forms of food poisoning were notified to health authorities in Queensland last year.
The rating scheme would allow a food business to display a hygiene rating or score from the most recent inspection by the local health authority. Consumers would be able to access the ratings on specific websites.
A ‘Scores on the Doors’ scheme is currently being trialled by local authorities across the UK. The Scores on the Doors scheme is based on the same principle as that used by the NSW Food Authority’s ‘Name and Shame List’, which alerts consumers to businesses that have not complied with their legal requirements.
Health Minister Geoff Wilson said, “This bill will not immediately result in the introduction of a food business rating scheme. Rather, it allows the uptake of a state-wide scheme once one has been developed by the Australian and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council and consultation on the scheme has been undertaken with Queensland’s local councils and the Local Government Association of Queensland.
He added, “The prescribing of the scheme in regulation will enable a more successful translation of what is expected to be highly complex and technical elements into legislation. It will also enable Queensland to prescribe a scheme relatively quickly following approval of the national framework, which is expected to occur in 2012.”