Monday, January 7, 2013

Fancy a snot pie?

The thought of this is totally gross.  Why would I contemplate writing under such a heading?

Unfortunately, it's quite possible that some customers have in fact been sold pies contaminated by the profuse nasal secretions of a baby held in the arms of the cook filling the pies.  Talia Shadwell wrote a piece in the Manawatu Standard at the end of December 2012 about a family-owned Rangitikei food premises forced to close because of a very unfavourable food safety inspection report.  In addition to the highly probable contamination of the pies by the infant, the milkshake blender was encrusted with rotten milk.  It is likely that there were other violations of good catering practice and the Food Hygiene Regulations.

Legislation is changing in New Zealand, but it is safe to say that the intent of the regulations will not change.  District councils are responsible for registering food premises and it is illegal to sell food not produced in registered premises.

"No persons shall be issued with a Certificate of Registration for food premises (except a vehicle used solely for the carriage or delivery of food for sale) unless -

• That person has been issued with a Council recognised Certificate in Food Hygiene or another qualification approved by Council; or
• There is, working on the food premises, a Manager or a staff member with specific responsibility for staff training in food hygiene, who has been issued with a Certificate in Food Hygiene, a Certificate in Basic Food Hygiene or other qualification approved by Council."
 It is perhaps surprising that the inspection report noted that the family had 'very limited' knowledge of food hygiene and food safety practices.

Unfortunately, this state of affairs is probably more common than we would like to think - many food premises are run by immigrants who provide the rich diversity of foods available in New Zealand, but who may have very limited knowledge of the language and regulations. This is no excuse for poor hygiene and food production practices.

Consumers have a right to expect their food to be safe to consume and to be produced under aesthetically acceptable conditions.

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