NSW Food Authority releases most comprehensive food inspection report card

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 21st December 2009

The NSW Government unveiled their inaugural food inspection report card on Sunday, detailing the amount of food inspections, fines and prosecutions handed down in every council across the State for the past year.

NSW Minister for Primary Industries Steve Whan said the report by the NSW Food Authority reveals that more than 56,000 inspections were carried out at more than 36,000 food businesses in one year.

“This is the most comprehensive report card of food inspection activity ever compiled in Australia and the NSW Government is determined to provide consumers with as much information as possible,” Mr Whan said. “The report shows that 10% of food businesses did not comply with the standards and required ongoing intervention – so clearly there are a number of food businesses in NSW that need to lift their game.”

“However, 90% of food businesses didn’t require ongoing intervention, which shows the system is working.”

The report found the largest number of complaints (44%) were related to hygiene and handling issues.

“The NSW Government is working to address hygiene and handling issues, we have amended the Food Act and next year a mandatory food handler training program will come into effect to ensure every food business has a designated food safety supervisor,” the Minister advised. “This report card reveals the system is working, the food businesses which do the wrong thing are being issued with a warning, fine or they are prosecuted.”

During the 12 months from 1st July 2008 to 30th June 2009 food inspections resulted in the following action:

• Warning Letters: 8,040
• Penalty notices: 1,713
• Improvement notices: 1,621
• Seizures: 86
• Prohibitions: 63
• Prosecutions: 48

The report reveals food inspections and surveillance activity has increased across the State’s 152 local councils.

“The majority of councils, or 89%, have inspected the majority of the food retail businesses in their local government area – which is great to see,” Mr Whan suggested. “However it’s disappointing for consumers that there is still 11% of councils who have not satisfactorily completed their inspection program of the food retail businesses in their area.”

The City of Sydney Council was, not surprisingly, the busiest given they have the highest concentration of restaurants and cafes with more than 3,000 food businesses in its area. They carried out over 3,300 inspections in the 12-month period, investigating 602 complaints and issuing 177 warning letters, 127 improvement notices, and 95 penalty notices. They also shut down two premises and conducted 15 seizures.

For details on individual councils please visit: