Naming and shaming begins with “Dirty Dozen” in just 24 hrs

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 2nd July 2008

A dozen NSW food outlets are the first to be named and shamed on the State Government’s website for food law violations, Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald said today.The new Food Authority website provides details of the 18 breaches and fines, valued at almost $7000, imposed on the 12 food businesses by the Authority and local councils.

“The Iemma Government has delivered on its promise to give consumers better access to information about the performance of food outlets,” Minister Macdonald claimed. “This is a new era for hardworking families in this State. From today, they can readily access information about food outlets to help them decide where they eat or buy food.

The Food Authority has already been posting details of prosecutions but now they also have the authorisation to publish the names of companies which have been issued with penalty notices. Details of prosecutions will remain on the site for two years and penalty notice reports will stay on the site for a period of one year.

Examples of penalties that appear on the website’s first day of publication include:

* A restaurant in the Fairfield Council area fined $660 for dirty premises or equipment.
* Two restaurants in North Sydney fined $660 and $330 each; one for a person smoking in a dry food store and the other for a dirty meat slicer.
* A McDonald’s restaurant on the Central Coast fined $660 for failing to maintain fixtures and fittings in good repair.
* Two restaurants in the Penrith Council area fined a total of $1320 for four counts of poor cleanliness and maintenance issues.
* A Wollongong restaurant fined $660 for failing to maintain potentially hazardous food under temperature control.
* A Subway on the Central Coast fined $660 for poor cleanliness.

Mr Macdonald said a lot of attention has gone into ensuring that the new website contains all the information the public would expect. “It’s a comprehensive list that includes details such as the name of the person served with the penalty notice and business trade name,” he advised. “Where the person is actually a company, the owner, manager or directors of the company can also be named. The register will also include the details of the penalty notice, including the penalty amount and any details of the alleged breach.”

The government has put safeguards in place to ensure that no-one is unfairly dealt with. “There are some very important safeguards to require the website is accurate and complete,” Minister Macdonald said. “For example, information can be amended when the business has been sold so consumers see when a business is under new management. By making all this information available, the website strikes a fair balance.”

Since July 2007, 10 successful court convictions have been listed on the food Authority website for practices including unclean premises, food not protected from contamination, vermin on premises, food stored at unsafe temperatures and dirty equipment. Mr Macdonald added that, based on past annual figures of penalty notices, there are likely to be hundreds of entries on the website within a year.

The name and shame scheme was finalised on May 3 this year and could lead to similar legislation throughout Australia.

The Food Authority ‘name and shame’ website is at: