Reporter: Rodney Lohse
Program: Today Tonight
Broadcast Date: August 30, 2010

A hygiene blitz has named and shamed Australia’s restaurants caught preparing food in filthy conditions.

The eateries use out-of-date ingredients and their premises are infested with pests. It’s no wonder councils around the country are cracking down on hygiene with repeat offenders firmly in their sights.
Especially when you consider that of the 5.4 million Australians poisoned by bad food every year, 120 will die.
One of Brisbane’s most popular hotels, The Fox, was found to be infested with cockroaches and maggots – rotting meat was found festering at room temperature.
A hot bread shop was found using its kitchen as a garage for a bike. The floor was used as storage space for cooking equipment.
Brisbane’s Buffet Garden has also been named as failing to meet hygiene standards along with the K and K Fresh Food Market.
One Asian food house was caught washing containers of raw meat in its own hand basin.
Mice faeces were found on equipment in Kim Than’s hot bread shop – the equipment had not been washed in months.
And poor hygiene is not only limited to small restaurants. Surprisingly, some of the biggest names on the retail landscape have come under the microscope.
A McDonalds outlet in Minto, NSW, was penalised this year for harbouring maggots and failing to keep the restaurant clear of garbage.
In a statement, McDonalds told Today Tonight the hygiene issues were “rectified immediately” and that such situations were a “rarity”. They added hygiene and food safety was of the highest priority to their business.
In a Sydney Dominos outlet authorities found cockroaches were rampant. A KFC outlet in Sydney’s south has recorded eight guilty convictions since 2007 in relation to cleanliness and hygiene. Another KFC had live cockroaches on its premises.
They’ve been named along with other offending restaurants on a central register, part of the NSW Food Authority’s fight against unsafe food practices.
The site has attracted four million hits since it opened two years ago.
Primary Industries Minister, Steve Whan, says the list doesn’t discriminate. Big or small, the reputations of restaurants and eateries everywhere are on the line.
Brisbane City Council have had enough. Lord Mayor Campbell Newman has declared war on dirty restaurants.
“I think it’s disgraceful that people would be so cavalier in the way they treat their customers. It’s really out of step with community standards – that’s why we’ve determined this new scheme to help industry lift their game,” Mr Newman said.
“The good thing though is that we’ve caught those people and they are a small minority.”
Brisbane will soon have a points system introduced to help diners know which restaurants, cafes, and food outlets are practising the highest standards of food safety handling.
A Dominoes restaurant in Mount Gravatt in Brisbane was found guilty of 20 breaches of the food act. The breaches, which occurred in 2008, included 20 to 25 cockroaches observed in the store’s preparation area, more cockroaches and cockroach eggs under a bench and more in the cold room and other areas.
But the Council fines paled in comparison to Dominoes action – they sacked management.
CEO of dominoes, Don Meij: “We have a zero tolerance of anything that has to do with food safety – we have a very high standard – a strong program to reinforce that. We have a zero tolerance policy to anything that might happen that’s unsafe in anyway in our business.”
In one case, a cockroach was found in a meal. The only visible cockroach trap was under a desk in an office and that trap was found to be full of dead cockroaches.
In Melbourne, takeaway lovers are eating blind. In that city there is no name and shame list.
But the department of health is working on it – the Food Act is undergoing changes so a register of convictions will be available in six months.

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