A Hoppers Crossing food premises owner has been found guilty of 11 charges under the Food Act and ordered to pay fines and costs of $25,000.
At a hearing at the Sunshine Magistrates’ Court on 28 May, the proprietor had pleaded guilty to the charges, relating to the cleanliness of the premises and unsatisfactory food handling practices.
Specific offences over an extended period included: Failing to handle food that was intended for sale in a safe manner; Failing to maintain a level of cleanliness where there was no accumulation of garbage, food waste, dirt, grease or other visible matter; Failing to take all practicable measures to eradicate and prevent pests from the premises; Storing or packaging food in a manner that did not prevent its contamination and may have affected its safety and suitability; and more.
Safer Communities portfolio holder Cr Kim McAliney said it was always unfortunate when issues such as unsafe handling of food had to reach the courts, but Council is adamant that all food outlets should meet health requirements.
“In Wyndham we have a wide range of amazing restaurants whose proprietors and staff ensure the hygiene standard remains to Council’s high standards and I commend them for their efforts, but we sometimes find food outlets who fail to meet these requirements and they can face the appropriate penalties, such as this case,” Cr McAliney said.
Cr McAliney added that Wyndham City checks all 2,300 food premises regularly and if the inspectors are not happy with any aspect of the environment, they work with proprietors to achieve a positive resolution without the need for further action. If Council’s advice is not complied with the food outlet is given a formal order and Council ensures the food safety issue is dealt with in a timely manner.
“While the majority of food premises comply with regulations, Council has no hesitation in prosecuting proprietors who do not meet our hygiene standards because the health and safety of our community is our priority,” Cr McAliney said.
“Prosecution is undertaken in specific circumstances, such as when the risk is deemed as severe; when a history of non-compliance and repeat non-compliance exists or when food premises operators demonstrate an unwillingness to co-operate and comply with relevant legislation. All food premises operators have a responsibility to ensure the appropriate food safety and hygiene practises are in place,” Cr McAliney said.
Council’s Environmental Health Unit is available to provide advice to operators who are unsure of their responsibilities. For more information phone the Unit on 9742 0777 or visit www.wyndham.vic.gov.au