Christopher Walsh of Northern Territory News reports former CLP candidate Carolyn Reynolds has been cited on numerous occasions by the Department of Health for serious food service violations at her Lake Bennett Resort including staff not washing their hands, serving questionable food and keeping an “unsanitary” kitchen.
Environmental Health inspection documents obtained by the NT News show Ms Reynolds was written up in early June for a number of breaches of the Food Act, including not having proper potable water on premises and improper hygiene of employees. A follow-up review of the premises known as “Eagle Nest” restaurant showed serious breaches continued at the resort as late as June 23.
“Observation of staff — no handwashing in between duties,” the follow-up report states. “No soap in soap dispenser.
“Defrosting of foods — to be defrosted in coolroom, at time of inspection chicken breasts were defrosting in sink … not safe.”
The inspection also found expired food was stored in the same place as food she was serving customers. She was lectured then about “best before” and “use by” dates.
Department of Health officials confirmed Ms Reynolds was written-up for violations of the Food Act after “numerous complaints” but that no action was taken and that they “continue to work with the proprietor”.
“Environmental Health officers have visited the premises on a number of occasions, as recent as August and served food improvement notices to address issues identified,” a Health Department spokeswoman said. “The proprietor has taken appropriate follow up action.”
But photos taken last week, seen by the NT News, show unsanitary kitchen conditions remain, including dead cockroaches on shelves, unclean cooking areas, out of date cheeses and mouldy foodstuffs in coolers.
A former employee told the NT News Ms Reynolds would routinely serve old and expired food to customers — as late as last week. The employee also said she personally witnessed “Carolyn preparing food without washing her hands, without wiping down benches and using unclean knives quickly wiped on a dirty tea towel”.
Ms Reynolds denied all the allegations, saying she sacked kitchen staff recently “because some people hadn’t been doing things while I was doing the election”.
She added she is a “certified microbiologist” and knows about food safety. The Australian Society for Microbiology said yesterday they had no record of Ms Reynolds as a member.
“I fully understand all aspects of safe food, unfortunately, we in society probably throw away a lot more food than we should,” Ms Reynolds said. She added that claims she served children expired meat were “rubbish.”
“In no way on earth would I risk my reputation both as a chartered biologist and a business owner and as a person who loves children …” she said. “I would not risk harming children.”
Ms Reynolds, who ran for the seat of Goyder, said she was in “desperate” need of a good chef and that she may be forced to bring cooks in from the UK soon.
And they know what about food safety?