Food retailer fined $60,000 for food safety failings

Posted by Isobel Drake on 16th October 2008

A Sydney sushi retailer has been hit with fines of over $60,000 after being caught for “serious breaches” of food safety legislation.

Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald said the $61,250 fine imposed by the Chief Industrial Magistrates Court on Su-Shi World Australia Pty Ltd sends a very clear message to food industry operators who try to cut corners. “This fine reflects that food safety in this state is not to be taken lightly and that this Government takes its responsibility towards the consumers of NSW seriously,” he said. “Those few rogue operators doing the wrong thing will be caught.”

“They will be named and fined, or, in the worst cases, prosecuted through our courts.”

Minister Macdonald said Su-Shi World Australia Pty Ltd was fined for seven offences under the NSW Food Act between 10 November 2006 and 17 November 2007.

The food retailer was involved in the processing and manufacture of meat, seafood and other foods which were further processed and sold at sushi retail outlets across Sydney.

“I am advised Su-Shi World’s offences included serious breaches relating to poor hygiene and persistent rodent infestation,” Mr Macdonald reported. “For instance, during processing, foods were stored in close contact with raw chicken. Other foods were being covered by unclean netting material, increasing the likelihood of contamination.”

In addition, rodent faeces were spotted on a bench, in a cupboard and on the top of food ingredients.

The Industrial Magistrate’s Court took into account the number and continuing nature of the offences which suggested “a disturbing willingness to run a food business without regard for basic hygienic standards.”

The Court considered Su-Shi World’s decision to ignore a Prohibition Order issued by the NSW Food Authority as a disregard for enforcement processes that ensure food premises and processes are appropriate and safe.

Details of the prosecution will be made available on the Food Authority website.