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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Maybe light at the end of the "hygiene in restaurants" tunnel

We have already congratulated the pro disclosure of councils Blacktown and Woollahra for supplying information about restaurants in their areas. Unfortunately this has not been the case with other councils in New South Wales.

For over a year the Sydney Morning Herald Freedom of Information Editor Matthew Moore, has been trying to pry hygiene standard reports from many of the Sydney councils. They have chosen to use old "business affairs" excuse or parts of the Food Act rather than release this information to the public who deserve to know.

The media attention has finally prompted Minister for Primary Industries Ian Macdonald to step in and promise to amend the Food Act. Mr. Mcdonald said "I am totally happy to do it. I would hope to have it finalised in the spring session in Parliament".

We have suggested only last week that an online register of penalty infringement notices, to include any response from the food outlet is the way to go. All this shouldn't be a freedom of information battle ground.

In the SMH Editorial today "If you only knew how they made it" the paper points out:
"There is no faster, easier way for a government to raise food hygiene standards that to publish what food inspectors find so the world can know, and use the knowledge to decide where to book a table or what to buy".

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