Brisbane restaurants fined $338,000 for breaches

The Courier-Mail reports more than 14 Brisbane (that’s in Australia) food businesses have been prosecuted by Brisbane City Council and fined a total of $338,000 for breaching food safety and hygiene standards during the past 13 months.

Photographs taken inside some Brisbane businesses during snap inspections by council officers revealed messy work benches, cobwebs, rusty pipes, dirty utensils and dead rodents in traps.

One South Brisbane restaurant was fined $22,000 in July after it was found guilty of six breaches of the Food Act.

The findings come as council finishes inspecting the last of Brisbane’s eateries in preparation for the launch of its Eat Safe food rating program.

From November, the city’s food businesses will voluntarily place ratings from two to five stars in their windows, under the scheme first revealed by The Courier-Mail in February.

So far, 4028 businesses have been inspected in preparation for the launch.

About 2504 received a rating of three stars or more and 1524 businesses scored two stars or less.

Of those, 493 businesses received a poor rating because they did not have a nominated food safety supervisor.

Eat Safe Brisbane will award five stars for excellent compliance with the state’s Food Act and Food Safety Standards.

One star sucks in restaurant inspection; I want 5 on my forehead

Sewage backups in food storage areas. Restaurants with sleeping quarters. Unclean staff members. Unsanitary premises.

Windsor-area food establishments have now been busted — publicly — by the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit for food safety infractions.

Food safety ratings of hundreds of establishments are officially available online for the first time today. The ratings use a star system to denote the level of food safety witnessed by health unit inspectors at the time of inspection. A rating of five stars reflects excellent compliance with the province’s food regulations, while fewer stars reflects a lower degree of compliance.

Of the 1,806 establishments rated on the Safe Food Counts website Thursday, seven establishments got a one-star rating, which is classified as “needs improvement” by the health unit.

The Sun Hong Restaurant on 2045 Wyandotte Street West in Windsor, Ontario (that’s in Canada) on September 9. and a handful of others around the city, received a one-star health inspection rating by the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (left, photo by Ben Nelms, The Windsor Star).

Eight establishments received a two-star rating, described as “fair,” 39 got three stars, or a “good” rating, and the remainder received four or five stars, classified as “very good” and “excellent.”

The Royal Pita Bakery at 701 Wyandotte St. E., was closed by the health unit in June after inspectors deemed it an “immediate health hazard.”

In 2008, the Ontario Public Health Standards mandated all health units to publicly disclose food safety inspection results. The local health unit began its Safe Food Counts program in 2009. The health unit website states that though the scores are reflective of food safety conditions at the time of the inspection, "the score may not reflect the overall, long-term standards of the business. It also does not represent the quality (e.g., taste, nutrition, customer service, etc.) of the food served at the premises."

The food safety ratings can be viewed online at

5-star rating system for Brisbane eateries

The Brisbane Times reports that by November, all of Brisbane, Australia’s 6,000 eateries will be "voluntarily encouraged" by public pressure to display their restaurant inspection ratings, between zero and five stars.

The stars will only judge the hygiene and food safety standards used to make meals.

David Pugh, owner of Restaurant 2 and vice-president of Restaurant Catering Queensland, said the restaurant industry backed the scheme, adding,

"In fact we see it as a bit of bonus, because if you command three, four, five stars, you might get more foot traffic coming through the door. The reality is that the public want this."

A restaurant dude who gets it. Good for him.

Under the new Eat Safe scheme:

• no stars would mean the eatery had not met the hygiene standards of the Food Act 2006 and Food Safety Standards;

• two stars would mean the business had a low level of compliance with food safety standards and "more effort is required;"

• three stars would mean the eatery was a "good performer" that met food safety standards with an overall acceptable level of food safety.;

• four stars would be awarded to a "very good" performer with high food hygiene; and,

• five stars means the eatery has "excellent hygiene" with very high standards in food refrigeration and storage.

UK: Restaurant receives Michelin stars, but no food safety stars

The Star Inn restaurant in North Yorkshire has been closed after more than 80 customers developed symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea, reports

The Star Inn has won a raft of prestigious awards since 1996, including a Michelin star, the Egon Ronay Gastropub of the Year title and, most recently, The Good Pub Guide County Dining Pub of the Year for 2010.

Jacquie Pern, who jointly runs the venue with her husband, leading chef Andrew Pern, said yesterday,
“We can confirm that The Star restaurant is temporarily closed as a precautionary measure. Early indications are consistent with a viral incident. We are taking the matter very seriously and are co-operating with the health authorities and look forward to returning to our normal food standard as soon as possible.”

A spokesman for Ryedale District Council said,

“More than 80 people are known to have developed symptoms after eating at the restaurant between October 18 and October 28. A number of restaurant staff are also known to be affected by symptoms.”

Upon reading the story I immediately went to Scores on the Doors website, which lists a restaurant’s food safety-star rating based on the most recent inspection. The Star Inn is located in an area of North Yorkshire which appears to not yet be registered with the Scores on the Doors programme. Although Michelin stars are nice, I’d rather know the restaurant’s food safety rating.

From the celebrity illness file: R2D2 actor Kenny Baker falls ill on flight

Flick Direct is reporting today that Kenny Baker, best known for his role as R2-D2 in Star Wars was fell ill on a flight from the US to England on Thursday and was rushed to hospital immediately after landing at the airport.  Flick Direct  goes on to say that a family member said that he was recovering last night and expected to be home in a few days.  "Kenny’s conscious and talking, hopefully hell be absolutely fine", said one relative.  Kenny played R2-D2 in all 6 of the Star Wars films.