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“E” Gradings Are For Serious Failings

“E” Gradings Are For Serious Failings By Food Handlers

Claims that some food premises in Manukau have been given “E” gradings for trivial things are not correct, as those gradings are only given for serious failings – in many cases multiple faults, City Manager Colin Dale says.

“There has been media publicity stemming from claims that E ratings have been given out just for “technical breaches” of the law which are not important. However they were in fact for serious breaches of the food regulations that could lead to unsafe food and sick customers.

“An E rating can be given for an obvious fault, such as filthy premises with rats and cockroaches. It can also be for faults that, on the surface at least, appear quite minor but have the potential for serious consequences.

“For example the temperature in a pie warmer may be too low. While easy to fix, this could promote bacteria and result in food poisoning. A pie warmer should basically be too hot to touch. Many aren’t.

“Another potential danger area is rural premises that rely on tank water which can easily be contaminated. Owners must have the water tested monthly to ensure it is safe. If there is no evidence that water testing is taking place, then

the inspector does not know if water served to customers is clean and wholesome - therefore a serious fault.

“In the end it all comes down to a matter of public safety and it’s quite possible for a premise to go from an “E “ to an “A” by making the required improvements.

“The policy of identifying the premises which have received an E rating has received strong positive feedback overall from the public and indeed from owners of food premises also. Maintaining public safety and high hygiene standards are core responsibilities of the Council, and our strong enforcement of food regulations will continue.

“Our officials have to interact on occasion with some food sellers who are very difficult to deal with. But they have an obligation to maintain public safety and are pleased to work co-operatively with the vast majority of sensible, responsible food premise proprietors,” Mr Dale says.

There are 119,000 cases of food poisoning in New Zealand every year, causing a lot of sickness and costing the country at least $55 million dollars.

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