CATEGORIES


Food safety scores 'incentives' for eateries

8/21/2011 22:54:25 PM

Canberra eateries could be required to publicly inform their customers about breaches of food safety, under a plan being considered by the ACT Government.

The Government commissioned an independent consulting firm to look at ways of introducing a food safety rating scheme in the Territory.

ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher says recommendations include forcing restaurants to display official shame notices in their windows.

"We've had a couple of examples where businesses have been required to close and a sign may go up saying business closed due to holiday or something like that," she said.

"So we are trying to look at how we manage that. That is, if you are closed because of a food safety reason that you have to display that clearly so people can see the reason behind the closure."

Ms Gallagher says they are also considering a 'scores on doors' system, which she says works well overseas in Singapore and Canada.

"Restaurants get rated against an 'A to E' system, based on their food handling techniques and inspections that are done. Obviously everyone would aspire to having an 'A'," she said.

"That score needs to be displayed on their door so customers coming in can see that they've been inspected, that they've been given the highest rating and have some comfort that the service and standard and food safety is of an extremely high standard."

Ms Gallagher says the system would serve as an incentive for businesses.

"People either need to retain their 'A', or if they've got a 'B' or a 'C' rating, that they work towards an 'A' rating on the door," she said.

Another recommendation is for a website to 'name and shame' businesses that have been prosecuted for failing to comply with food safety laws.

"So that information is there for the community, they can see what happened to the business, they've been found guilty and this is the penalty attached," Ms Gallagher said.

She says she expects the industry will welcome the ideas.

"It is about rewarding those that do the right thing. It is about identifying the poor performers, it's not actually doing anything against those who are doing the right thing," she said.

"At the moment, the poor performers are able to bring the whole industry into disrepute because we're not being as upfront as we can be about who those poor performers are."

Canberra's hospitality industry has cautiously welcomed the recommendations.

Yvette Berry from hospitality union United Voice says it would ensure establishments are not cutting corners.

"There are low paid workers in this sector who are probably having their employment put at risk because of the cost being cut to training and safe food handling," she said.

"I think if you are going to run a small business in this town then you have to run it appropriately and you have to know what the regulations are.

"If you can't do that appropriately then you should be shamed and you shouldn't be in the business of providing food to our community."

A discussion paper on the recommendations is now open for public comment.

Tags:  asian food onlinenescafe 3 in 1ahmad teachinese grocery onlinegrocery shoppingasian grocery

SRC: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-08-22/act-food-safety-report/2850032


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