Retail food industry showing improvement

The third annual government report on the safety of foods has found more retail food businesses in New South Wales are meeting the standards to prevent the risk of foodborne illnesses.

The Local Government Activity Report 2010-11 report shows compliance is up 2 per cent from the previous year, now sitting at 94.2 per cent.

Non-compliance has trended down 10 per cent in the last three years.

The figures show a series of positive changes being made in the food industry, including more council inspections and commitment to food safety by the industry.

The state government says that while the news is largely positive, there are still some retail food outlets not complying with regulations, and to ensure all food is as safe as possible, have trained almost 29 000 Food Safety Supervisors to keep the industry on its toes.

It will also launch the Scores on Doors scheme will help to reward businesses that meet the food safety standards by giving them a way to show their customers how well they have performed.

The 2010-11 Local Government Activity Report showed that councils undertook a total of 61,046 inspections of the 38,475 high and medium risk retail food businesses across New South Wales, almost 6 per cent of businesses businesses inspected required ongoing intervention from their council – a decrease from 7.8 per cent in the previous year.

Councils issued 6,914 warning letters and 1,455 improvements notices during 2010-11, 1,374 penalty notices, a decrease of 32 per cent on the previous year – a clear trend that food business performance is improving, according to the government.

Councils also investigated 98.8 per cent of the 4,341 food complaints received by consumers.

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