Heavy fines for food safety breaches a “strong warning” to restaurants

Posted by Editorial on 23rd April 2009

Two Sydney restaurants have been fined over $120,000 for a range of food safety violations after successful prosecutions by local councils, Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald advised yesterday.

Chiu Chow Palace in St Marys received a $70,500 fine for five breaches of food laws, while Sam’s Singapore Laksa House in Crows Nest was dealt a $51,500 fine for five offences (fines include legal costs).

Penrith and North Sydney councils brought the actions against the two eateries.

“These are significant fines that send out a strong warning to food businesses that they need to comply with food safety laws or they will get caught,” Mr Macdonald said. “All 10 offences incurred by both restaurants relate to general poor sanitation practices, dirty premises, and poor pest control.”

“There is no excuse for poor hygiene practices, it’s simply not good enough and consumers deserve better.”

Mr Macdonald reported that the St Marys restaurant fine was so high because both the director and company were considered to be at fault.

“The case concerning the St Marys restaurant is of particular interest, because the court held the director and the company dually responsible for these offences,” he said. “The court ruled that the director and the company were dually culpable under the Food Act, effectively doubling the $34,000 penalty.”

“The offences at the Crows Nest restaurant occurred in September 2008, where a council inspector found food being prepared in a wash basin, a build up of grease and dirt on walls and floors, and live and dead cockroaches in the kitchen.”

Mr Macdonald added that the two prosecutions were further examples of local councils taking tough action under new laws introduced by the Government in July, 2008.

“Councils are obliged to report their food regulation activities, including all fines and prosecutions, to the NSW Food Authority.”

Details of the two prosecutions will be added to the Food Authority’s Name and Shame website.