Peter Jean August 21, 2012
NSW Food Authority food safety result "Scores on Doors".
The registered clubs lobby has softened its opposition to a mandatory food safety ''scores on doors'' scheme for food outlets and called for a voluntary trial of the scheme.
The ACT government and the Greens have both promised to introduce government scores on doors, or star ratings scheme after the October 20 territory election.
Under the scheme, restaurants would have to prominently display government-issued hygiene ratings.
ClubsACT and the Australian Hotels Association had made submissions to the government opposing the idea.
But ClubsACT chief executive Jeff House yesterday contacted the government and suggested that as a compromise a six month trial be conducted of the hygiene-rating system.
''It's much better as a matter of principle to trial something before you implement it, particularly when it hasn't been done here before,'' Mr House said.
''Let's actually see what the scheme would look like, let's actually go through that process of coming up with the detail so that government and all the stakeholders can actually make informed comment about the scheme, rather than a discussion in the abstract.''
Mr House said a successful trial should include a range of different food outlets, including registered clubs.
''I'm sure some of our members would take part. It would be important to get a spread of sizes and types of venues. It's got to be restaurants, cafes, the little sandwich shops on the corner, clubs, the big hotels. It's got to be a mix of all of them,'' he said.
Mr House said the Health Protection Service should develop a model for the hygiene-rating system which could be used in the trial.
Chief Minister and Health Minister Katy Gallagher praised ClubsACT's ''positive step''.
''I think they recognise the potential scores on doors has for food outlets that do the right thing to promote this to their customers and build their business,'' Ms Gallagher said.
''We know the overwhelming majority of food businesses in the ACT are doing the right thing, but scores on doors can further build consumer confidence. A scores on doors scheme has the potential to make food safer, make food regulations more transparent and cut the social and economic costs of food borne illnesses.''
The ACT opposition recently said it would only consider a scores on doors-style system after recent laws which allowed food outlets which breached food safety standards to be ''named and shamed'', training for food safety staff and display of registration were fully implemented and shown to be working effectively.
The Canberra Times revealed earlier this month that the government had begun to bill unsafe eateries the costs of re-inspecting their premises, arguing the community should not shoulder the expense.