Australia: Report exposes dirty kitchens putting customers at risk
Source of Article: http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,24999597-662,00.html
03, 2009 12:00am
are regularly dished up old leftovers mixed with fresh food despite poisoning
A national report on the health
of cafes, restaurants and other food outlets has exposed dirty kitchens and
disregard for the safety of customers.
Mass checks ordered by the
nation's food authority found one in five businesses displaying self-serve
fare gambled with consumer health by adding dregs from the previous day to
new batches of food.
Australia New Zealand's National Food Handling Survey of hundreds of
sites branded one in 10 premises unclean.
Preparation and cooking areas
were the key problems.
Businesses where English was
not the main language were more likely to cut food
About 5.4 million Australians
suffer food poisoning each year.
The Food Safety Information
Council says most cases are caused by dirty or sloppy practices outside the
But FSANZ has kept the identity
of suspect operators secret. It says the research was to detect trends and
gaps in knowledge.
State authorities then
discussed whether action or further education was needed.
The report revealed some
bakeries, an industry singled out for special attention because of past
poisoning scares, were considered potential health hazards because they
directly touched bread, used cracked eggs and didn't properly clean piping
The study noted standards had
improved since a similar study six years earlier.
But FSANZ spokeswoman Lydia Buchtmann warned too many venues were still placing
customers at potential risk.
"For the minority of
businesses who aren't complying, none of the things they need to do are
rocket science," Ms Buchtmann said.
She said correctly stored
leftovers could be safely served separately. But they should not be combined
with fresh food because this raised contamination risks.
Inspectors from many local councils observed 916 food businesses for the study. A
further 2340 companies completed a telephone survey.
The survey revealed one in 10
places had no policy for sick workers handling food, and no warm running
water to ensure staff washed hands properly.
Four in 10 that sold displayed
food had slack supervision of self-service areas.
Victoria is the only state that requires compulsory written food safety plans.