The Government's initiative is rolled out under the "name and shame" banner, from the Minister's media release, the use of this term on the web page, and predictably in media reporting. What a pity we haven't embraced a fully transparent scheme with real potential to lift food hygiene standards that would come from routine release of information about compliance-good, bad and indifferent-or through a rating system. Either would acknowledge good as well as poor performance, and provide an added incentive to all to lift their game
Examples of penalties that appeared on the "name and shame" website’s first day of publication included:
- A restaurant in the Fairfield Council area fined $660 for dirty premises or equipment.
- Two restaurants in North Sydney fined $660 and $330 each; one for a person smoking in a dry food store and the other for a dirty meat slicer.
- A McDonald’s restaurant on the Central Coast fined $660 for failing to maintain fixtures and fittings in good repair.
- Two restaurants in the Penrith Council area fined a total of $1320 for four counts of poor cleanliness and maintenance issues.
- A Wollongong restaurant fined $660 for failing to maintain potentially hazardous food under temperature control.
- A Subway on the Central Coast fined $660 for poor cleanliness.
It's worth recalling that all this only came about after a two year campaign involving numerous Freedom of Information applications by the Sydney Morning Herald FOI editor Matthew Moore, and frequent refusals by different councils to disclose details on the basis that disclosure would have an unreasonable adverse effect on business affairs that was not outweighed by the public interest in disclosure, in at least one case supported by the Ombudsman. Congratulations to Blacktown and Woollahra councils who early on went against the tide and recognised a strong case of the public right to know when they saw one.