Bega Valley Shire Council has agreed unanimously to implement a ‘Scores on Doors’ food safety scheme that discloses the inspection result achieved by retail food premises following routine food surveillance inspections undertaken by council staff. The scheme assesses participating food businesses against NSW food safety legislation with an emphasis on food handling practices linked to foodborne illness.
The program, which is voluntary, uses a standardised checklist and scoring scheme resulting in a star rating. The rating system assigns three stars, indicating a ‘good’ level of food safety compliance to through to five stars, indicating an 'excellent' level of food safety compliance.
The rating is assigned after an unannounced routine inspection by a council environmental health officer. A certificate is then issued by council and positioned in a place highly visible to customers, usually in the front window or door of the business.
The star rating system provides a guide to consumers which can help them decide where to eat or buy food.
Five stars, excellent: the business has achieved the highest level of compliance with food safety standards.
Four stars, very good: the business has very good food safety practices in place. Some minor areas where standards were not met will need to be addressed.
Three stars, good: the business has a good standard of food safety compliance. A number of areas, although not serious, need to be corrected.
Council said that an environmental health officer would take immediate action if they inspected a food business that did not meet required food safety standards (as per current practice).
The program is aimed at food service businesses that process and sell food that is ready-to-eat, intended for immediate consumption, such as restaurants, takeaways, pubs, hotels, cafes, bakeries and clubs.