Ten per cent of NSW food businesses fail food safety test

Posted by Janice Wong on 28th May 2009

The NSW Food Authority has reported that 10 per cent of food businesses investigated in the state have failed recent food safety inspections.

Of the 23,000 food outlets inspected by local councils in the last six months of 2008, around ten per cent were found to breach or were alleged to have breached NSW food safety laws.

The nature of alleged offences ranged from failing to maintain food premises to the required standard of cleanliness, to operating a food business without a license, and evidence of rodent or cockroach activity, according to a report from the NSW Food Authority which operates the name and shame website.

There were a total 729 fines and 31 prosecutions made in the second half of 2008 and Primary Industries Minister Ian MacDonald believes that food businesses have a lot of room for improvement.

“This is not good enough, more work needs to be done by food premises to make sure they comply with critical food handling practices,” he said. “We want people to go to restaurants confident when they get there that the food served will be up to the highest level of food safety possible.”

A register of offences is published on the NSW Food Authorities website, which Mr MacDonald suggested had generated anxiety among food businesses. The NSW Food Authority argue the publishing of lists on a Name and Shame website serves to inform consumers about where they eat or buy food. There are currently 1015 penalty notices in the register.

The NSW Government advised earlier this week that all food service businesses in the state should anticipate a random health inspection at some point throughout the year. They also hope to introduce a compulsory food handler training program next year.