RESTAURATEURS and café owners throughout the Bega Valley have stars in their eyes thanks to a new food safety rating program.
Bega Valley Shire diners will be among the first on the South Coast of NSW to benefit from the rollout of the NSW Food Authority’s Scores on Doors program, a voluntary rating system designed to help consumers better understand the standard of food safety compliance in various food outlets.
“The program will, for the first time, give Council an opportunity to publicly acknowledge the hard work and effort that food businesses put in everyday in order to ensure that their food business offers high levels of food safety for all their customers,” Bega Valley Shire Council's environmental health coordinator Greg O’Donnell said.
“Scores on Doors makes the results of Council’s existing mandatory inspection process visible to customers of participating food businesses.”
Top rating businesses receive a five-star rating, with four and three stars also awarded to businesses who comply with the requirements of the National Food Standards Code.
Several restaurant and café owners are celebrating attaining five stars, including Grace and Danny Halin from Grace’s @ the Club in Bega.
“Our aim is always to provide quality service, and part of that is assuring customers the food safety and handling practices in the kitchen are exceptional,” Ms Halin said.
“We had our compliance visit from Greg O’Donnell at the end of a busy lunch, he’s seen the kitchen at its busiest and he’s seen how we clean up at the end of service.
“Storage of food and cleanliness of the kitchen have always been of high importance to us, and this score recognises that and provides peace of mind of customers.”
Ms Halin said customers at her restaurant never have to worry about being served food that is anything but fresh.
“We never have any leftovers to store, we end up selling out of dishes!” she says.
Other food outlets who have received a five-star rating include Pambula’s Wild Ryes Baking Company, Sprout Eden and Bega’s Café Evolve.
“I’ve seen this program running in Cootamundra Shire and I’m impressed to see our local council rolling out the scheme down here,” Peter Haggar from Café Evolve said.
“I can see it as being of great benefit to our business and other independent restaurants generally.”
Member for Bega Andrew Constance said “there are more than 250 food retail businesses in the region and there is a very high food safety compliance rate”.
“Joining the Scores on Doors program represents a great opportunity for businesses to collectively promote that high level of compliance to locals and visitors alike,” he said.
All eligible food businesses are encouraged to participate by contacting BVSC to further discuss their involvement.
For more information about the program and a full description of each grade visit www.scoresondoors.nsw.gov.au.