Putrid pizza store fined more than $100,000

Posted by Josette Dunn on 29th November 2010

A Dominos pizza store in Quakers Hill has been fined $116,000 and its director $13,500 for multiple breaches of the NSW Food Act, Primary Industries Minister Steve Whan said today.


“This is a very significant fine and represents one of the worst examples of food safety and hygiene breaches that we’ve seen in this state,” Minister Whan said.

“The Court found that the Dominos store and its director were guilty of a sustained and ongoing disregard for the cleanliness, maintenance and control of pests of the premises.

Austotal Enterprise Partners, the company that owns the store, pleaded guilty to 18 breaches of the Food Act and the director of the company pleaded guilty to six breaches of the Food Act.

“Investigations were begun by NSW Food Authority officers following reports from customers of becoming ill after eating products from the outlet.

“Food Authority investigations uncovered what can only be described as appalling conditions in the store, where floors were built up with food waste, dirt, grease and other decomposing matter and drains were found to be in a putrid state and blocked with rotting food.”

Minister Whan said despite numerous warnings, including improvement notices and a prohibition order the operators of the Quakers Hill store failed to act to rectify the problems brought to their attention.

“In the opinion of Dr Lisa Szabo, the Chief Scientist of the NSW Food Authority, in her statement tendered to the Court, the extent of the cockroach activity and the accumulation of food debris and grime in the store not only served as indicators of poor sanitary conditions, but increased the risk of final product contamination by pathogenic microorganisms that increase the risk of foodborne illness,” Minister Whan said.

In making his findings the Magistrate noted that food safety and hygiene was a very important matter.

“The serious consequences flowing to consumers from the consumption of contaminated food is clearly spelt out in the witness statement of Dr Szabo,” Magistrate Greg Hart said.

“From time to time this Court is required to deal with prosecutions under the Food Act in circumstances where contamination has led to the hospitalisation of numbers of seriously ill consumers and in one recent case the consumption of contaminated food had contributed to a fatality,”

In addition to the fines costs of $8,500 were also awarded.