COFFS Harbour City Council is the first regional authority in NSW to scrap compulsory annual inspections of food premises in favour of making checks based on local businesses' actual record of food handling.
"The best performing and lowest risk food business could see their inspection frequency drop to every two years or 18 months, whereas the higher risk, poor performers may have to be visited every six months until they demonstrate they can maintain standards to an acceptable level,” said Ian Fitzgibbon, Council's Group Leader Sustainable Places.
"This is an innovative method of recognising food business risk that has been used at a few larger Sydney councils, but has operated successfully in the UK for many years.”
The new framework will be based on each business's food handling record and will give the higher performing operators the chance to reduce the amount of 'red tape' - and the associated costs of inspections - they have to deal with, while allowing Council to put more resources into the poor performers that present a greater public health risk.
"So the best performing businesses will save money as well as time by maintaining the highest standards of hygiene.”
Coffs Harbour City Council is also a participant in the NSW Scores on Doors hygiene and food safety program that rates food retail outlets on their food handling practices.
Customers can easily see how well local food businesses are complying with food hygiene and safety requirements through the 3, 4 and 5stars rating certificates displayed at premises and via the Scores on Doors app.