$150,000 fines for Australia noodle bizes

Three Sydney noodle manufacturing businesses have been collectively fined more than $150,000 in relation to various food safety and hygiene failures under the Food Act 2003 and the Food Standards Code following a targeted project by the NSW Food Authority designed to address a high-risk food sector where compliance was less than satisfactory.

The “Fresh Noodle Manufacturers Project” was designed to improve standards in the fresh noodle industry after the Food Authority became aware of compliance issues within the sector.

Over a period of four months NSW Food Authority officers conducted 25 inspections where they considered the use of preservatives, process and hygiene control, product labelling and temperature control.

The resulting enforcement activity included three prosecutions where one company was fined $11,000 and its director fined $2,800, a second company was fined $27,000 and the most recent result saw a Sydney manufacturer plead guilty to 19 charges and fined $113,000.

Dr Lisa Szabo, NSW Food Authority CEO, said while the wider community may not recognise noodles as a high-risk food, the intrinsic properties of fresh noodles mean that if they’re not kept within careful temperature control they become a breeding ground for the growth of microorganisms that can cause food poisoning.

“The NSW Food Authority is committed to ensuring people buying and eating food in NSW can do so with confidence and certainty that what they’re eating is safe,” Dr Szabo said.

“We target our efforts of investigation and risk management to where they are most needed in order to best protect the public and also reduce regulatory burden on those industry sectors who have a proven record of doing the right thing.”

The NSW Government’s Food Safety Strategy 2015-2021 has a goal of reducing foodborne illness by 30% by 2021 and a compliance target of 95% for all food businesses with food safety requirements.

 

£155,000 fine for UK restaurant after cooked food left next to used mop bucket

Katy Clifton of Get West London writesSouthall restaurant owner was fined more than £155,000 after council officersfound staff handling food with unwashed hands and cooked food next to a filthy mop bucket.

Chini Chor, in South Road, was taken to court by Ealing Council’s food safety team after the restaurant was found breaking food hygiene laws on two occasions.

The owner, Ravi Kumar Bakshi, pleaded guilty at Ealing Magistrates’ Court on Monday (October 16) and was ordered to pay more than £155,000 in fines and costs of £2,810.

During two inspections, staff were seen handling foods without washed hands and the access to the sink was obstructed by colanders stored on the floor.

Cooked foods were stored next to a mop bucket and foods were placed in dirty cardboard boxes.

Equipment for preparing foods, such as a cheese grater, had build-ups of dirt and were not washed properly, council officers found.

As of Thursday (October 19), the restaurant has a food hygiene rating of one.

Councillor Ranjit Dheer, cabinet member for community services and safety at Ealing Council , said the Southall restaurant showed “no improvement” between the visits.

‘Pathetic’ £450,000 fine because of crypto in UK water supply

Ed Walker of Blog Preston writes the reason why Prestonians couldn’t drink their water without boiling it for a month has finally been revealed.

United Utilities has been fined after a cryptosporidium outbreak at its Franklaw treatment plants to the north of Preston,

The Drinking Water Inspectorate found the problems came from the Franklaw works using a different reservoir to source water

Rainwater running off agricultural land was able to access an underground water tank at Barnacre.

A ‘planned change in operations’ allowed the entry of the contaminated water into the treatment process.

Traces of cryptosporidium were detected in the water at Franklaw triggering a shut off of supplies for 700,000 people across Lancashire.

Supplies for many were knocked out for a month during the summer of 2015 as engineers worked to fix the issue.

At Preston Crown Court the hearing fined United Utilities £300,000 and additional costs of £150,000 were also agreed. The firm had pleaded guilty to supplying water unfit for human consumption.

United Utilities was criticised for not acting fast enough to issue the boil water warning to households and businesses.

It has since paid out £20million in compensation to customers through reduced water bills.

The fine was branded ‘pathetic’ by Preston MP Mark Hendrick.

Filthy food habits cost Perth Woolworths $100,000

I prefer to shop at Coles, but there is a few things I get from Woolies, especially since it’s on the way to and from school. She has a preference for tiger bread (I know it’s just white bread with stripes, but it’s on her way to swimming which is a decent bike ride, followed by an hour of laps, so for an 8-year-old, I’m not concerned about the empty calories.

woolworths-crusty-tiger-breadEmma Young of The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Woolworths at Madeley’s Kingsway City must cough up $100,000-plus after numerous public health offences.

The conviction will result in a fine of $95,000 and costs of $7000 to Woolworths, which the City of Wanneroo began inspecting in October 2015 after a member of the public complained about their Woolworths brand Crusty Tiger Loaf, which was found to be ‘unsuitable for sale.’

“The inspection found that Woolworths were not in compliance with a number of food standard codes,” planning and sustainability director Mark Dickson said.

Woolworths was found to have failed to ensure its food handlers were skilled in food safety and food hygiene. It also failed to store food to protect it from contamination, failed to keep the store and its equipment clean and failed to “process only safe and suitable food”. 

Evidence of pests was also found.

Woolworths pleaded guilty to all charges.

“The City’s follow-up inspections found that the issues were rectified,” Mr Dickson said.

No more tiger bread.

Brisbane KFC fined $45000 after 2015 inspection

Kate McKenna of The Courier Mail reports a Brisbane City Council health inspector not-so-finger-licking good things at a KFC store in Chermside shopping centre’s food court in March 2015.

kfc-massacreFast food restaurant operator Collins Restaurants Management was slapped with a $45,000 fine in the Brisbane Magistrates Court earlier this month after pleading guilty to six breaches of food health laws.

According to court documents, an audit on March 4, 2015, uncovered live cockroaches in locations around the kitchen including on the surface under the preparation bench, and beneath the wall capping next to the crumbing station.

The council officer found a live cockroach found on the door handle of the freezer that stored the chips, as well as 30 to 40 live critters under the gravy and mash potato bain-marie.

Other violations included no warm running water at the only hand-wash basin in the premises and a build-up of food waste on the floor.

Council prosecutor Mark Thomas said there was substantial cockroach activity in a number of places, and council was seeking a $55,000 fine against CRM, which had no prior convictions.

Ralph Devlin, QC, for CRM, said the open nature of food courts posed unique issues for food retailers because pest control could drive insects from one spot to another.

He said the company had taken swift action and closed the store following the discovery, threw out stock, stripped and cleaned equipment, and enlisted pest control to “mist” the area.

Acting Magistrate Robert Walker handed down a $45,000 fine and decided not to record a conviction against the company.

 

About time: Boston restaurants could face steep fine if they don’t post food safety

Matt Rocheleau of the Boston Globe reports that Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh is asking the City Council for approval to fine restaurants $300 per day if they fail to post their food safety inspection letter grades in their storefronts.

ny_rest_inspect_disclosureRestaurants and food trucks would have a year to comply after the launch of the letter-grade system being developed for restaurants citywide, though the grades would be available on the city’s website.

The city’s Inspectional Services Department has been developing the program. Officials there have said restaurants would receive either an A, B, or C grade.

The program would resemble rating systems that New York, Los Angeles, and other cities have been using since as early as the late 1990s. Locally, Newton launched a similar program in the fall that requires numerical ratings to be displayed inside restaurants.

Boston officials have previously told the Globe that letter grades will be issued to all of the city’s roughly 3,000 food establishments, including restaurants, food trucks, cafeterias, and other food vendors.

When an establishment gets a low grade, inspectors will return within 30 days to reinspect, city officials have said. If the violations are corrected, the city would bump up the grade accordingly. If the issues remain, the grade would stand until the next routine inspection, officials have said.

Restaurants would be subject to the $300 fines if they fail to post their letter grades “immediately after receipt, unobstructed, at eye-level, facing outward on an exterior-facing wall or window within five feet of the main entrance in the interior of the restaurant,” according to Walsh’s proposal to the council, which was previously reported on by the Universal Hub website.

The council is due to take up the matter at a meeting in City Hall on Wednesday.

The new rating system would not cost the city any extra money, city officials have said, because it would calculate grades based on the existing system used to inspect restaurants.

 

Texas health officials fine Blue Bell a little following Listeria outbreak

Karen Robinson-Jacobs of Dallas News reports Blue Bell Creameries has been fined $850,000 by Texas health officials as a penalty for a Listeria outbreak, announced last year, that sickened 10 people and lead to a total shut down of company operations.

blue.bell.jul.15Three people died, but the company may only end up paying a fraction of that amount.

Under an enforcement agreement announced Friday between Brenham-based Blue Bell and the Texas Department of State Health Services, $175,000 must be paid within 30 days. The remaining $675,000 will be paid only if the company violates the terms of the agreement in an 18-month period, according to the state agreement.

Assuming all goes well with monitoring and testing, “upon successful completion of the eighteen-month term, the remaining balance of funds held in abeyance will be forgiven by” the state, the agreement said. 

Officials with Blue Bell could not be reached for comment.

Attorney Bill Marler, who specializes in representing victims of food-borne illness, said he thinks the fact that Blue Bell was hit with a fine is noteworthy.

“If it is $1 or $1 million, I think any fine for producing bad food sends a powerful message,” said Marler. “Any fine is very unusual. That is why any amount is significant. “

He said he has not heard whether any fines were levied by Oklahoma or Alabama, home to additional Blue Bell plants, but added “I would imagine they will.”

Under the agreement, makers of the iconic Texas brand will continue to test and monitor the ice cream following last year’s outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes linked to Blue Bell products made in Brenham.  

Research firm PrivCo estimated that, due to the recall, Blue Bell’s 2015 sales plummeted by nearly 60 percent to $288 million.

Brisbane Chinese restaurant fined after customer finds piece of metal scourer in fried rice

A Brisbane Chinese restaurant that served fried rice containing a piece of a metal scourer that lodged in the throat of a female customer has been fined $23,000.

Bamboo Basket restaurant at Portside, in HamiltonBamboo Basket restaurant at Portside, in Hamilton, also was twice found to have live cockroaches by Brisbane City Council officers last year.

Maxine Dosen coughed up the piece of metal from the scourer and was rushed to a hospital emergency to check that she had not swallowed more.

Brisbane magistrate Judith Daley said while it was not known how the piece of metal got into the food, a chef was in the habit of using the scourer to clean a wok during cooking.

Ms Daley said there would have been a real risk that part of the scourer could fall off.

She said after the incident the chef continued to use the metal scourer, despite staff being told not to do so.

 “It all happened so quickly,’’ Ms Dosen told The Courier-Mail last year.

 “I put this fried rice in my mouth and suddenly felt something sharp, like a prawn shell, go down my throat.

 scrubber.chinese.food.jun.16“I tried to bring it back up my throat and pulled this long, curly thing out of my mouth.’’

Felix Ip, a director of family-owned business Lafeco, which owns Bamboo Basket, pleaded guilty to five Brisbane City Council charges.

Apart from a charge of selling unsafe food, there also were charges relating to grime, failing to take precautions to prevent pests and having live cockroaches in the restaurant.

 

Mermaid Beach Bangkok Thai owner has ordered to pay more than $20,000

Mermaid Beach is a lovely spot on Australia’s Gold Coast.

Vinya Chantra.bankok.thaiThis Thai restaurant, not so much.

Alexandria Utting of the Gold Coast Bulletin reports Mermaid Beach restaurant Bangkok Thai was the subject of legal proceedings in the Southport Magistrates Court after business owner Vinya Chantra (right) and the company to which he is a director, Chantra Enterprises, were charged with three counts of failing to comply with food standards codes.

The charges came after council inspectors found the popular Thai restaurant in a “gross level of filth” with food waste, dirt, grime and rodent droppings on tables used to prepare food.

The court heard the restaurant had received improvement notices for cleanliness on several occasions since September 2012, but had only paid one fine of $580 for a breach of food safety laws in 2015.

Magistrate John Costanzo individually fined Chantra $2,955 for allowing food safety breaches in his business.

He was also ordered to pay $1,250 to council in costs and $89.90 for the filing of court documents.

The company Chantra Enterprises was separately fined $14,725, as well as costs and filing fees.

£30k fine slapped on UK Indian takeway owner after pools of blood found in freezer

A takeaway boss has been forced to pay out more than £33,000 after health inspectors found pools of blood in a freezer and cobwebs on light fittings at his business.

Maya takeaway Salik Mohammed Miah, 42, the owner of Maya takeaway in Polesworth, was handed one of the largest fines in the history of North Warwickshire Borough Council after a catalogue of hygiene horrors were exposed during an inspection.

Uncovered boxes of prawns, chicken and rice were also discovered along with containers of curry sauce stored on the floor and a dirty sink containing disgusting cloths and sponges.