Council clamps down on eateries

DESPITE claims that kitchen hygiene horrors are the stuff of tabloid TV, the Launceston City Council nevertheless handed out scores of fines and improvement notices for unsanitary food practices in 2011-12.

Its strongest action was against a Launceston baker, who was fined $650, for selling "unsuitable food".

The council would not provide more details or name the business, to safeguard the baker's reputation.

In rejecting a right to information request, the council said naming local businesses that had breached food safety laws may undermine their viability.

"That may see a diverse, alternative food service lost to the community with a consequent impact on public health," council general manager Robert Dobrzynski said.

Naming the businesses might also erode trust between vendors and the council's food inspectors with a further impact on public health, he said.

The council did agree, however, to provide rudimentary details regarding inspections.

"The reality is that the really bad examples that sometimes get aired on current affairs television shows are extremely rare," Mr Dobrzynski said.

The council handed out $2730 in fines to the bakery, cafes, restaurants and takeaways.

A childcare facility was served an improvement notice for selling food past its use-by-date and storing it near cleaning products.

A supermarket chain was also found selling food past its use-by- dates as well as not controlling the temperature of hazardous foods and having "waste management issues".

Bakeries were pulled up for storing food on the floor and poor cleaning practices while a butcher was not testing "ready-to-eat" meat products.

A cafe was put on notice for poor temperature control in the bain marie, and another for not using tongs or gloves to handle ready- made food.

A Launceston hotel was told to stop storing raw meat above ready- to-eat food. Mr Dobrzynski said the council mainly dealt with cleanliness and refrigeration issues.

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