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Name and shame dodgy restaurants: yes/no?

By 17 February 2011 24

The ACT Government is considering whether to ”name and shame” restaurants which breach hygiene standards or to introduce a more comprehensive hygiene ”star-rating” system for all food businesses.

ACT Health has refused to release the names of the restaurants which were subjected to breach hygiene orders because the information could ”unreasonably affect” the affairs of the businesses’ owners.

It was reported recently in The Canberra Times an Ainslie woman, Esther Agostino and her partner began suffering stomach cramps about 30 hours after they ate dinner in an unnamed north Canberra restaurant.

It was later discovered they had contracted salmonella and had to be cared for by the women’s mother who took time off work to care for the couple.

It was also reported that Ms Agostino was taken back to hospital by ambulance after becoming violently ill again and is now taking powerful antibiotics. She and her partner both lost several kilograms and have still not recovered their health.  Tests confirmed the couple had salmonella and that that infection almost certainly occurred in the restaurant.

Ms Agostino said the public should be informed when a business breached food safety standards.
Do you agree?

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24 Responses to Name and shame dodgy restaurants: yes/no?
#1
Spoono9:37 am, 17 Feb 11

Salmonella can “unreasonably effect” some people’s lives i.e. = death. Name and shame, they should get a web site and database like NSW health.

I wonder how the ‘star’ system would work? One star for Salmonella, two stars for Listeria,
Three for a 24hr wog and four stars for mild diarrhea and 5 stars for a-ok.

#2
colourful sydney rac9:43 am, 17 Feb 11

Yes. Name and shame.

#3
trix9:49 am, 17 Feb 11

Not for a one-off – that can happen to any establishment. For restaurants that fail their inspections, yes. There are other places that follow a “traffic light” system, showing the minor, moderate and major breaches of the health regulations. This seems fair.

#4
Davo11110:01 am, 17 Feb 11

colourful sydney racing identity said :

Yes. Name and shame.

totally agree. All offences, with descriptions explaining the issues

#5
threepaws10:28 am, 17 Feb 11

Yes, yes, yes!

I am sure that pregnant women would like to be reassured that their favourite restaurant is not serving up a tasy dish of salmonella, listeria and toxoplasmosis which could cause the death of their unborn child.

There are more serious consequences of food poisoning for some people than a case of the runs…

#6
screaming banshee10:32 am, 17 Feb 11

Name and shame the people that dont pick up their game yes, but their should be a severity level to trigger the naming, or repeat low level offences that clearly they make no attempt to rectify.

Re the salmonella, 30 hours seems a bit of a stretch for first symptoms??

#7
fernandof10:34 am, 17 Feb 11

Yes, name and shame. Even if it’s a single incident.

By refusing to publish the details of the establishments that failed hygiene inspection, the council is basically saying that the interest of the restaurant to do business is more important than the interest of the public to not get ill. I’m having real difficulties in understanding this decision.

Then again, I might be wrong here, and there’s an entirely different way to look into this matter. Anyone with formal knowledge around hygiene inspections care to clarify this for me?

#8
Georges10:57 am, 17 Feb 11

Similarly name and shame dodgy sickie takers. A woman working for a large government department took two weeks off from work in 2009 claiming Salmonella poisoning at her work cafeteria. Although not news to her work colleagues who were by then copping a string of sickie excuses, it was certainly news to the cafeteria manager whom was never advised of the incident. Glad to report the Salmonella victim returned to duty, refreshed, hearty and healthy and apparently not an ounce lighter.

#9
Diggety11:00 am, 17 Feb 11

No. The only reason I eat at Canberra restaurants is to strengthen my immune system.

#10
Texpat11:07 am, 17 Feb 11

Yes! Name them, provide details of the breaches, post copies of the inspection reports, etc. Set up a website, send out tweets when there are problems, and more tweets if/when follow-up inspections are done and they get the all-clear.

#11
Swidt11:15 am, 17 Feb 11

Definitely name and shame. People have a right to be informed of potential risks to their health.

#12
Davo11111:42 am, 17 Feb 11

trix said :

Not for a one-off – that can happen to any establishment..

pretty sure the get warnings for first offences if they’re marginal health issues.

#13
Buzz260011:46 am, 17 Feb 11

screaming banshee said :

Name and shame the people that dont pick up their game yes, but their should be a severity level to trigger the naming, or repeat low level offences that clearly they make no attempt to rectify.

Agreed. There should be a severity level before making it public. Having worked in a number of eating establishments back in my uni days, I’d be surprised if there would be very many restaurant/cafes who would pass inspection every time! Being ‘named and shamed’ for minor breaches would be overkill but serious offenders should be outed in the name of public health and safety.

#14
fernandof1:38 pm, 17 Feb 11

Buzz2600 said :

Having worked in a number of eating establishments back in my uni days, I’d be surprised if there would be very many restaurant/cafes who would pass inspection every time! Being ‘named and shamed’ for minor breaches would be overkill but serious offenders should be outed in the name of public health and safety.

So, why do many establishment fail to pass inspections?

#15
boobook1:59 pm, 17 Feb 11

screaming banshee said :

Re the salmonella, 30 hours seems a bit of a stretch for first symptoms??

According to NSW Health – http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/factsheets/infectious/salmonellosis.html
“Symptoms often start 6-72 hours after infection.”

#16
RiotCRACK5:19 pm, 17 Feb 11

This appeared in The Canberra Times last weekend and they must be having a hard time finding stories of substance at the moment. The pictures conveyed in Saturday’s original news article seem better placed on a tabloid. Heading an article with “We don’t know the name of the ACT’s filthiest restaurant, its suburb nor what it sells… Nor do we know if it’s a restaurant” seems a great way bolster your word count and that with some giant sized cockroaches is a great way to fill the news starved edition that features no less than 38 advertisements over its first 18 pages.
Over 2400 businesses purvey food in the ACT and of those only 7 have been issued with prohibited notices in the last 2 years. Pretty good if you ask me! With less than 0.3% of businesses given these notices I’m fairly certain it’s safe to eat in the city that enjoys the highest proportion of restaurants per capita in Australia. I’d suggest that at 0.3% many of us would be far safer eating out than eating things lurking around our own kitchens and judging by the state of Ms Agnostino’s kitchen featured in Wednesday’s paper, I would be interested to know if such victims of food poisoning would be so willing to have their own home subject to the same scrutiny as the venue they claim to have been made ill by. Fortunately she’d done the washing up before the photo was taken!

#17
sunshine5:54 pm, 17 Feb 11

most defianately!! name and shame all the way. by not naming the restaurants we are putting more people at risk

#18
Dacquiri7:10 pm, 21 Feb 12

ACT Assembly has just passed an embarrassingly weak excuse for a law — requiring that any food business convicted of a food safety breach to be listed on a register and to display a closure notice. That sort of stuff should have been public information decades ago, and it’s no big deal to require it now. Unfortunately, the public will remain in the dark when it comes to the info we really want: the inspection scores. This is info that is publicly available in hundreds of other cities around the world, and there is no excuse for it not to be available in the ACT.

#19
farnarkler7:53 pm, 21 Feb 12

Canberra is a small enough place that surely someone knows someone who knows someone who is willing to anonymously post the names of the restaurants that have been fined.

#20
GardeningGirl12:08 am, 22 Feb 12

Dacquiri said :

ACT Assembly has just passed an embarrassingly weak excuse for a law — requiring that any food business convicted of a food safety breach to be listed on a register and to display a closure notice. That sort of stuff should have been public information decades ago, and it’s no big deal to require it now. Unfortunately, the public will remain in the dark when it comes to the info we really want: the inspection scores. This is info that is publicly available in hundreds of other cities around the world, and there is no excuse for it not to be available in the ACT.

Agree. But I’m wondering when Canberra went backwards? I remember reading in the Canberra Times about a restaurant that was fined decades ago. When did such information become a secret?

#21
Henry8212:43 am, 22 Feb 12

name and shame, and it shouldn’t just be limited to restaurants/serving of food.

#22
The_TaxMan8:15 am, 22 Feb 12

Jees people on this very site is one of the restuarants in question

http://the-riotact.com/health-inspectors-catch-up-with-tak-kee/23100

This place has been closed a few times and in each case they put up a sign saying they were renovating the kitchen but of course the kitchen is the same as always so the reno must have been cheap. Also many of the now defunct Saigon Hotbakes were pinged. I have a friend who is an electrician who said that after working in kitchens in canberra there are many many he will will not eat in. Cockroaches in the dough machines of bakeries was his favourite, the machines stop working he gets there opens the inspection plate and out pour the raisons.

#23
puggy8:57 am, 22 Feb 12

fernandof said :

So, why do many establishment fail to pass inspections?

Inspectors will always have suggestions on how some very minor things could be done better and may suggest something that can be rectified on the spot. While technically not a 100% inspection pass, it beats finding nests of vermin in the bag of flour, for example. And you can tell teenage employees to not touch their hair – and to go and wash their hands if they do – a million times, but they do it, because they’re 16 years old and haven’t grown a brain yet.

While we’re at it, we should name and shame anyone who cooks a meal in their own kitchen and ends up sick.

#24
dungfungus8:59 am, 22 Feb 12

The_TaxMan said :

Jees people on this very site is one of the restuarants in question

http://the-riotact.com/health-inspectors-catch-up-with-tak-kee/23100

This place has been closed a few times and in each case they put up a sign saying they were renovating the kitchen but of course the kitchen is the same as always so the reno must have been cheap. Also many of the now defunct Saigon Hotbakes were pinged. I have a friend who is an electrician who said that after working in kitchens in canberra there are many many he will will not eat in. Cockroaches in the dough machines of bakeries was his favourite, the machines stop working he gets there opens the inspection plate and out pour the raisons.

This would be fairly standard for a “chew and spew” restaurant. If the food is freshly cooked and scalding hot there is generally no problem. I caught the owner of a chew and spew ransacking the dumpster for discarded vegetables behind a F&V shop adjacent to the restaurant. When I challenged him he said “no worry, I wash them before I cook” If ever in doubt, order a toasted cheese sandwich which was the favourite of commercial travellers 40 years ago.
As the man said, no worries.

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