Restaurant inspection results in Australia? Not happening
Posted: February 29th, 2008 - 10:43am by Doug PowellMatthew Moore writes in Saturday's Sydney Morning Herald that food poisoning is an issue all over the world. To keep levels as low as possible, developed countries do three things: employ food inspectors, educate workers about food safety and, increasingly, they tell people the truth.
When Britain got freedom of information laws three years ago, one of the first decisions by the information commissioner was to rule that results of restaurant inspections carried out by public servants were public information. He said what's obvious to most people: it is in the public interest for people to know what inspectors found.
His decision was in line with what's been happening for decades in America, where restaurant inspection results are as common as restaurant reviews. And for good reason.
The New South Wales state minister responsible justified his decision to ignore what Britain and US are doing this way. "I am not saying any country is wrong, but this is Australia."
Meanwhile in Melbourne, the Victorian Government has rejected a plan to set up a website to publicly name and shame dodgy restaurants convicted for food safety breaches.
"The Government is not inclined at present to support the establishment of a central website."
The Age reports that a review by the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission has concluded that the Government could save about $34 million a year by paring back red tape for food standards, particularly for charities, schools and community groups.
The City of Melbourne has reported that approximately 40% of the 3000 food premises in its municipality were found to have breached food safety standards in the past four years.
I got my views published in Sydney last May. Restaurant inspection results should be public -- although research is needed to figure out the most effective way to provide that information -- and anyone who handles food should have some basic training.
Don't eat poop.