RAT poison pellets in bread, dodgy lasagne and contaminated chicken were some of the food safety gaffes behind the damning Northern Rivers food safety report card issued by the NSW Food Authority this week.
The report, which for the first time details the number of food inspections, fines and prosecutions handed down in every council across the State, found all four Northern Rivers councils fell short of the 69 per cent ‘satisfactory’ state average mark for routine inspections for the six months to June 2009.
Inspections conducted in the Richmond Valley and Lismore council areas found a measly 52pc of food businesses scored a ‘satisfactory’ on first assessment. Byron Shire achieved a 54pc pass mark, while Ballina mustered 59pc.
The food safety and hygiene misdemeanours published online for 2009 on the NSW Food Authority’s ‘name and shame’ penalty database included rat pellets found in a loaf of bread from Henry’s Bakery in Lismore, which attracted a $1100 fine in August; and Rubies Restaurant in Lennox Head, fined in February for harbouring cockroaches in the kitchen area.
A $660 fine was slapped on Asian-style food chain Noodle Box in Lismore for letting a small dog into the premises in April.
The majority of complaints on the statewide list related to hygiene and handling issues.
Rainbow Seafood in Byron Bay was fined in March for failing to keep fish on display at the correct temperature and failing to ensure people handling or supervising the handling of food had the proper training.
“The NSW Government is working to address hygiene and handling issues,” Minister for Primary Industries Steve Whan said.
“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.”
Consumers can search the entire NSW Food Authority database by suburb at: www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/consumers
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