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Unsavoury practices revealed by food checks

In the past 6 years nearly 300 greengrocers, delis and supermarkets have been slapped with fines for bugs, rodents, filth and expired food according to data from the NSW Food Authority.

The biggest repeat offender is the IGA Plus Liquor store in East Lindfield with 11 fines totalling $5280 for breaching food safety laws since 2009. Two years ago they were penalised for displaying food that was past its use-by date and yet committed the offence again in August. Three fines were issued for selling expired quince paste, feta cheese and steak.

An employee at East Lindfield's IGA , who did not want to be named, said that the Council food inspector from Ku-ring-gai had fined them on "very little things that shouldn't be an offence", such as running out of paper towels for the staff's hand basin.

Since 2008, the NSW Food Authority and the state's council's have collected $400,000 in fines from supermarkets, groceries and delis. Three council areas hold the lion's share of these fines, being Fairfield Council ($45,650), Willoughby Council ($29,150) and Blacktown Council ($18, 920).

However, the compliance rate for all food businesses in the three council areas hovered between 89% and 93% in the past financial year.

Source : The Sun-Herald, Sunday March 30 Page 15