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Roach infested restaurant fined $30,000

Source: NSW Food Authority

The Industrial Magistrate's Court has found a company previously operating a Sydney restaurant completely failed in its duty to maintain standards of cleanliness and hygiene and ordered the operators pay $35,200 in fines and costs, Primary Industries Minister Steve Whan said today.

Suchen Trading Pty Ltd, the previous owner of Tum Tum's Thai restaurant in Sydney's Darlinghurst was charged with 24 offences under the Food Act, including poor food handling, pest infestation, poor hygiene, unclean premises and lack of maintenance of the premises during inspections conducted in January 2008.

A prohibition order was issued on the premises at the time and was lifted once all identified breaches of the Food Act were rectified.

"This is a serious case of a restaurant flouting the laws that are in place to protect diners in NSW," Minister Whan said.

"The NSW Food Authority took swift action to prevent any further risk to public health and safety by issuing a prohibition order on the restaurant.

"The NSW Government will not tolerate businesses that put the health of consumers at risk and risk damaging the reputation of an industry that for the most part is comprised of hard working, law abiding operators."

In deciding the matter Chief Industrial Magistrate Greg Hart stated that in numerous respects the premises was not in a fit condition for use in the production of food products for human consumption.

"Not only was there a failure to deal with food waste, dirt and grease, but a number of offences were found in relation to pest infestation in that cockroaches and cockroach faeces were found within food containers," Magistrate Hart said.

The Magistrate noted that evidence gathered by the NSW Food Authority showed there was a complete disregard for hygiene and food safety on the defendant's behalf, despite previous warnings and enforcement by Sydney City Council environmental health officers.

"Food preparation surfaces, food preparation equipment, and many areas within the premises, demonstrated a complete failure on the part of the Defendant to put in place and enforce a system for the regular maintenance and regular cleaning of the premises," Magistrate Hart said.

"Notwithstanding the intensive efforts and considerable resources being utilised by the NSW Food Authority in relation to the Defendant's premises, the improvements made by the Defendant were incremental and tardy when they clearly should have been dramatic and dealt with on an urgent basis."

Minister Whan commended Sydney City Council for their commitment to ensuring food sold in their area was as safe as possible.

"Councils across NSW, including Sydney City Council, work in close and effective partnership with the NSW Food Authority to ensure we can all enjoy the food we are famous for safely."

The prosecution will be added to the NSW Food Authority's Name and Shame register at www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/aboutus/offences

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