The chance of getting food poisoning is on the decline with the level of food safety standards increasing across NSW, Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson said.
Ms Hodgkinson said the 2011-2012 Local Government Activity Report found compliance rates have lifted to 94.5 per cent in 12 months which means consumers are better protected from foodborne illnesses.
“Councils’ inspections and support for food businesses are contributing factors to these strong compliance rates,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
“The NSW Government’s Food Safety Supervisors initiative, which started a year ago, has seen 47,194 people trained to help improve food handler skills and knowledge in the retail food sector.
“Councils across NSW undertook 59,974 inspections of the 39,411 retail food businesses which require an annual inspection.
“Between 1 July 2011 and 30 June 2012 there were fewer tough enforcement actions, such as penalties, seizures and prosecutions, for serious non-compliance compared with the previous four years.
“The results of this enforcement hierarchy also highlighted that intervention and business support are effective means of encouraging compliance,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
Ms Hodgkinson said the report showed that the number of consumer food complaints reported to councils were on par with last year’s results.
“Councils have been active and in the space of 12 months reviewed 4,344 food complaints from consumers and investigated 96.6 per cent of these complaints in addition to undertaking regular inspections,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
“The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is committed to ensuring the safety of the community.
“While food safety inspections have been effective, the ‘Name and Shame’ initiative has also been a good deterrent for most businesses,” Ms Hodgkinson said.