Name and Shame laws just weeks away

Posted by Isobel Drake on 10th June 2008

Pioneering new laws that empower local councils as food safety enforcers and allow the government to publish food law violations are to come into effect next month.
Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald said the Food Amendment Act 2007 comes into effect on July 1, formally recognising the food regulation responsibilities of 152 NSW councils. “Within a year 100s of premises are expected to be named on the Food Authority Website,” he said. “This Name and Shame legislation is about providing choice to the people of NSW and giving an added incentive to businesses to do the right thing.”

Mr Macdonald believes the introduction of the new laws marked a new era in food safety and would also help empower consumers. “Although local government has for many years inspected and regulated food premises, the new legislation formally recognises their responsibilities, resulting in better co-ordination between councils and the Food Authority, ” Mr Macdonald said. “The name and shame laws mean the details of food premises that receive penalty notices from the Authority and councils for serious food offences will be put on the website.”The NSW Food Authority has issued 32 penalty notices since the law was proclaimed on May 3rd and Minister Macdonald believes the new laws will increase the likelihood of businesses getting caught out. “From 1 July, dodgy food outlets that cut corners and put consumers’ health at risk are more likely to get caught and be exposed for the whole community to see,” he added. “Depending on their type and severity, all these offences may appear on the Authority’s website for anyone to see.”

Mr Macdonald did indicate, however, that there are safeguards in place to ensure reputations are not destroyed by minor complaints. “The overwhelming majority of businesses that do the right thing and observe food safety laws have nothing to fear from these new laws. There are rigorous safeguards in place to ensure minor infringements do not penalise the reputations of businesses,” he stated. “It’s the dubious operators that these new laws will help get caught and outed.”