Cowra's new "Scores on Doors" program showing residents how well local food businesses are complying with food hygiene and safety requirements is now up-and-running, Cowra Mayor, Councillor Bill West said.
The initiative involves local food vendors displaying a special sticker on their front door showing their most recent food inspection results.
"Customers can now see the food support rating for each outlet involved in the voluntary scheme with a number of local eateries already signed-up," Cr West explained.
"The certificates and stickers reflect results of regular hygiene and food safety inspections. Therefore, what was previously only known to Council inspectors and the proprietors is now also available to diners," Cr West said.
A total of 10 local food outlets have been quick to see the benefits of the scheme for their customers and themselves. "I just think it lets customers know eateries are lifting their game and lifting their standards," Narelle Elger from TasteBuds on Kendal St said.
New Cowra resident and manager of the Sovereign Inn, Julie Parsons agrees: "We actually had it in Goulburn so we were already aware of it. So I thought 'It's a great thing for the community to be aware of'," she added.
Cowra Council Director, Environmental Services, Kate Alberry explained that "Scores on Doors" aims to highlight the importance of food safety standards and to reduce the instance of food-borne illness in the community.
"Scores on Doors offers businesses a fantastic opportunity to show customers just how seriously they take food hygiene and the results they have achieved by displaying a rating certificate and sticker on their door," Ms Alberry said.
"If you see a restaurant displaying the purple and green poster and sticker, you can dine there safe in the knowledge it has met minimum hygiene and food safety standards during the last food inspection and if it's not displaying one, ask why," Ms Alberry said.
The rating system of Excellent (5 stars), Very Good (4 stars) and Good (3 stars), all represent various levels of compliance with the Food Standards Code. Council officers will inspect businesses and rate their hygiene and food safety standards. The rating includes such things as food temperature control, food prepared in advance of service, food handler hygiene, cleaning and sanitisation, and pest control.
Scores on Doors also creates greater consistency in food hygiene inspections around NSW as councils use standardised inspection checklists and gives greater visibility and transparency of compliance by food businesses.
"Cowra Council is proud to be part of Scores on Doors and doing its part to reduce illness from food and ensure that residents and visitors can enjoy their meals safely," Cr West concluded.