06:24 pm, Friday 10 September, 2010
The ACT Supreme Court has today increased the penalty of a restaurant in inner-north Canberra for a safety breach in food handling.
In February 2009, a health inspector noticed meat was being prepared and defrosted in an uncovered carpark behind the owner’s Chinese restaurant in Dickson. She claimed the food outside was attracting wild birds.
The officer then went inside and saw decaying food, grease and rubbish throughout the food establishment.
A chopping block and a rusty knife that were found in the carpark were seized.
The owner of the restaurant was handed down a fine of $1,500 by the ACT Magistrates Court in June. However, the Director of Public Prosecutions appealed against the penalty.
On appeal, the Supreme Court has now increased the fine to $6,900.
According to ACT Health Protection Service director John Woollard, the increased penalty for the restaurant owner’s serious food safety breach.
“This is on the very worst end of what we see,” he said.
“We see a trickle of premises that aren’t up to scratch. Some of them are minor contraventions that we’re able to successfully work with the proprietor on improving, some of them end up in court.
“But this is on the more serious end – there’s not many we see that are this bad.”
Mr Woollard says the case should serve as a warning to all restaurant operators in Canberra.
“It certainly will send a message to those few proprietors in the Canberra area who perhaps aren’t doing the right thing around food safety – that it is taken seriously and if they’re caught, they’ll be dealt with appropriately in the courts,” he said.