Several food businesses operating in Wollongong have been fined by council food safety inspectors.
Wollongong bakery Three Chimneys, the religious sect-run Common Ground bakery, Albion Park Poultry and market stalls are among those fined and named by the NSW Food Authority.
Crown St’s Three Chimneys copped three $880 penalty notices, all related to failing to keep its premises or food preparation areas clean in May. Previous warnings had been given.
Manager Cesur Sneidjer claimed the fines were too harsh and were for “minor” issues – a broken fridge seal, chopping board needing to be replaced, lack of a thermometer in the kitchen.
He blamed construction next door for driving pests into the adjacent alleyway.
“If you come in to our premises and eat food you’re not going to be worried about whether a cockroach or anything like that is coming out.
“I ask the paying customer at the end of each meal if they’re happy with the service [and] 95 per cent of the time they’ve complimented [us], and want to know who the chef is.”
Thursday “eat street” market stalls Wisspa and Ola Lola were fined for not having proper hand-washing facilities, as was Wollongong Central salad chain Soul Origin.
Albion Park Poultry received three $440 fines for “cleanliness” breaches. Owner Shaun Stone said his penalties related to new rules that demand steel or plastic, not wooden, surfaces and paneling in the egg grading room, and he had not fixed it soon enough.
“That’s the new standard,” he said.
“It was nothing major.”
The Common Ground bakery is run by the Community Apostolic Order, a religious sect also known as the Twelve Tribes, based at a property at Picton.
It is registered as a charity and lists assets valued over $4 million, and a half-million-dollar profit last year.
But the group, which aspires to an old-fashioned communal lifestyle without individual posssessions, was apparently unable to cough up for hand washing facilities at its Crown St mall Friday market stall, despite being warned previously, and was fined $880.
Wollongong City Council, which conducts the inspections in accordance with its partnership with the NSW Food Authority, said they were routine.
”The frequency of the inspections are based upon the NSW Food Authority’s guidelines with most restaurants, cafes and take away premises listed as ‘high risk’ which means that they have a minimum of two inspections per year,” a spokeswoman said.