Food safety fines in Brisbane

The problem with Brisbane’s restaurant inspection disclosure program is that it’s voluntary: only got two stars out of five? Don’t post the grade.

They may suck at public disclosure, but they’re good at sending a with fines when problems are discovered.

According to the Australian Institute of Food Safety:

• A combination lodging amenity and restaurant located on Flockton Street was fined for multiple issues, including old food scraps being left on and in food containers and live roaches found throughout the establishment. The fine for this issue was $25,000.

• A café that is located in the Mount Gravatt area was actually fined because a rat infestation was found on the premises. Additionally, the café placed rat poison in areas that also contained food for human consumption. In this instance, the fine was $25,000.

• A restaurant on Compton Road racked up more than 40 violations such as mice on the premises, broken and open food storage containers, improper control of food temperatures, and unsanitary food storage, and was fined $27,000.

• On Queen Street, a place to provide health drinks was fined because a customer found a used bandage in their beverage. The fine in this instance was $20,000.

Note no names were named so as a consumer, how would I know which places I might want to avoid. Doesn’t seem democratic. We have some experience with this.

Filion, K. and Powell, D.A. 2009. The use of restaurant inspection disclosure systems as a means of communicating food safety information. Journal of Foodservice 20: 287-297.

The World Health Organization estimates that up to 30% of individuals in developed countries become ill from food or water each year. Up to 70% of these illnesses are estimated to be linked to food prepared at foodservice establishments. Consumer confidence in the safety of food prepared in restaurants isfragile, varying significantly from year to year, with many consumers attributing foodborne illness to foodservice. One of the key drivers of restaurant choice is consumer perception of the hygiene of a restaurant. Restaurant hygiene information is something consumers desire, and when available, may use to make dining decisions.

Designing a national restaurant inspection disclosure system for New Zealand?
Journal of Food Protection 74(11): 1869-1874
Katie Filion and Douglas Powell
Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas 66506, USA
The World Health Organization estimates that up to 30% of individuals in developed countries become ill from contaminated food or water each year, and up to 70% of these illnesses are estimated to be linked to food service facilities. The aim of restaurant inspections is to reduce foodborne outbreaks and enhance consumer confidence in food service. Inspection disclosure systems have been developed as tools for consumers and incentives for food service operators. Disclosure systems are common in developed countries but are inconsistently used, possibly because previous research has not determined the best format for disclosing inspection results. This study was conducted to develop a consistent, compelling, and trusted inspection disclosure system for New Zealand. Existing international and national disclosure systems were evaluated. Two cards, a letter grade (A, B, C, or F) and a gauge (speedometer style), were designed to represent a restaurant’s inspection result and were provided to 371 premises in six districts for 3 months. Operators (n = 269) and consumers (n = 991) were interviewed to determine which card design best communicated inspection results. Less than half of the consumers noticed cards before entering the premises; these data indicated that the letter attracted more initial attention (78%) than the gauge (45%). Fifty-eight percent (38) of the operators with the gauge preferred the letter; and 79% (47) of the operators with letter preferred the letter. Eighty-eight percent (133) of the consumers in gauge districts preferred the letter, and 72% (161) of those in letter districts preferring the letter. Based on these data, the letter method was recommended for a national disclosure system for New Zealand.