Public health risk at Canberra’s eateries

The nation’s capital could be more open.

Australian Capital Territory Health’s “name and shame” list reveals that nearly two dozen restaurants, cafes and fast food outlets in the ACT have been hit with fines totalling more than $230,000 for breaches of food safety standards since 2011

See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No EvilThe register only lists eateries found guilty of food offences, and because of investigative, administrative and appeal processes it can take between 18 and 24 months before the date of an offence and the conviction appear on the register. 

Inspections of restaurants, cafes and food stalls have risen in the past three years, increasing from 1994 in 2012 to 2334 last year. 

More than a dozen Canberra restaurants were forced to shut their doors last year because of an immediate public health risk or failing to fix food safety breaches, new figures reveal.

Cockroaches littering the floor, mouldy food stored in a cool room, a floor covered with thick, grey congealed food waste and power points caked in grime and grease: these are just some of the unpalatable images of appalling food standard breaches health inspectors have discovered in restaurant kitchens in Canberra.

ACT Health figures show 14 restaurants were closed last year after being slapped with prohibition orders because of an immediate public health risk or failure to comply with improvement notices. 

There were also 395 improvement notices issued last year, 32 more than 2013 and 101 more than in 2012. 

Improvement notices are issued for less serious breaches. They identify areas of non-compliance and give eatery owners a deadline to rectify the breaches. 

ACT Health said details of the restaurants and breaches were “not able to be provided.”

The ACT government is yet to decide on the details of a possible “scores on doors” food hygiene rating system for restaurants, such as whether it will be compulsory and when it will be introduced. 

We celebrated the year of the sheep – Chinese New Year – with some friends at their house last night after hockey. Yummy.