Judge to Canberra restaurant: anyone going into restaurant business should know hygiene standards; Grand Court fined $8000

With no further news on the raw-egg-in-mayonnaise salmonella outbreak at a Canberra cafe and bakery that has sickened 13, attention in the capital today turned to the owner of a Chinese restaurant who was convicted and fined $8000 after breaching the territory’s food safety laws.

Health authorities shut down the Grand Court restaurant in October, 2010 for 11 days after finding grimy work surfaces and ”biological matter” all over the cool-room floor.

But the ACT Magistrates Court heard owner Michelle Foo, 28, had worked hard to clean up the restaurant and had been allowed to reopen after it passed a health inspection.

Foo had pleaded guilty to four charges of failing to comply with food hygiene requirements and unsafe food handling.

Her defence lawyer told the court that the evidence against his client was indisputable but said Foo was very remorseful for the offences and had since turned things around at the eatery.

The court heard Foo had previously worked for Woolworths and had no experience of running a restaurant when she bought the Grand Court in August 2010.

The restaurant was old and inadequate and staff did not follow appropriate hygiene practices.

A health officer inspected the premises after a customer complained about a cockroach in a takeaway bag.

According to documents tendered in court, the inspection uncovered dirty work surfaces, greasy walls, dirty equipment and a lack of proper food-storage containers.

Authorities shut the restaurant down amid fears it was ”critically unhygienic”.

The Grand Court had since been cleaned up and had passed every health inspection for the past year.

Magistrate Maria Doogan said it was difficult to accept Foo’s excuse that she was an inexperienced restaurateur, saying anyone who went into the restaurant business should know about hygiene standards.