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2nd Successful Food Premises Prosecution In Month

Media Release
4 June 2003

2nd Successful Food Premises Prosecution In A Month

For the second time in a month Manukau City Council has successfully prosecuted a food premises owner for unacceptable food hygiene standards.

The owner of Food World Otara pleaded guilty to all 18 charges under the Health Act, Food Regulations and Food Hygiene Regulations in front of Judge Gittos in the Manukau District Court last week.

When imposing fines and costs totalling $5750 Judge Gittos commented that the state of the premises was deplorable. He added that the premises were a risk to public health and the serious nature of the offending meant that a significant penalty needed to be imposed.

The 18 charges were laid after Council Environmental Health Officers carried out a routine inspection of the premises in August 2002. The inspection revealed the entire premises to be very dirty with evidence of inadequate food safety procedures and general maintenance, which included (among others):

- sold food which was unsound or unfit for human consumption;
rotten fruit and green potatoes (which contain a poison) were displayed for sale
- failure to ensure adequate supervision of workers on the premises;
When spoken to by Council officers none of the workers in the butchery department had any understanding of the importance of cleaning the area or equipment regularly with hot soapy water. A fire hose connected to a hot and cold water supply was the only means of cleaning available;
- white plastic cutting boards in the butchery department appeared to have not been cleaned for some time. They contained cracks into which blood and food scraps had sunk;
- failure to keep food clean and free from contamination. Bags of food, which had split open, were being stored on shelves in the warehouse section leaving them subject to contamination from vermin, in particular mice;
- failure to display frozen food for sale in a wholesome condition and at or below a temperature of minus 12 „a C. Frozen meat products were displayed for sale in a fridge display unit instead of a freezer display unit, and were defrosting

Environmental Health Team Leader Ian Milnes, while satisfied that the outcome of the court case is fair, never the less is disappointed that Council has had to go to such extremes in order to gain compliance with the regulations.

Mr Milnes says, ¡§We will continue to prosecute those premises that persistently put the public at risk through inadequate food hygiene practices.

¡¨Food retailers, just like restaurants or cafes, are required to display a Food Grading Certificate. If there is not one displayed then the public need to ask why and request to see the current certificate.¡¨

Council will now take the necessary steps to determine if the Certificate of Registration for Food World Otara should be revoked.


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