The City of Sydney is keeping no secrets during its crackdown on restaurants that violate food-safety and hygiene regulations. In a press release issued last Friday, details of six establishments that have been prosecuted for offences relating to the Food Act were divulged.
The owner of Hong Hai Noodle Bar in the CBD, Thi Minh Nguyet Vo, was fined $22,500 by the council for “charges related to unclean premises, failure to prevent the entry of pests, unsafe food storage practices and the sale of unsafe food.” She was ordered to cover the city’s legal costs.
Vo was prosecuted in 2009 and 2010 for 21 breaches of the Food Act. This time the court ordered her to place public notices in two specific newspapers detailing the nature of the offences. This sentencing marks the first time such an order has been issued by the council.
The City of Sydney is making a public point of these prosecutions. The Scores on Doors program – which is implemented by the NSW Food Authority and is similar to initiatives in New York and Paris – is designed to display health-inspection results in-house. It has seen participation grow by more than 600 local venues in the past two years. More than 70 per cent of the 2353 participating premises have a four- or five-star rating.
“It is appropriate that members of the public are made aware of repeat offenders so they can choose whether to patronise a venue that could risk their health through poor food hygienic practices,” a City of Sydney spokesperson told Broadsheet.
“When a food premises puts public health at risk, the city takes action by issuing penalty notices and pursuing legal action,” said Lord Mayor Clover Moore in the release. “At the same time, the city’s health officers work closely with food operators to provide information and advice on safe food practices and ensure Sydneysiders and visitors can have confidence in the food they eat out.”
The City of Sydney has imposed $58,600 in fines on six establishments this year alone. The prosecutions are part of a crackdown the government says has seen the number of food-borne illnesses drop by 30 per cent in the past two years.