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Canberra eatery food safety breaches reach two year low

The latest figures show that fewer Canberra restaurants and cafes are closing because of food health and safety breaches.

According to data from ACT Health, the number of eateries closing because of breaches have fallen to a two year low.

The figures show that seven food businesses in the nation’s capital were slapped with prohibition notices during 2017.

That includes two eateries in Canberra getting served with prohibition notices since the start of this year.

Both venues have closed until further notice.

The numbers reveal that prohibition orders placed on cafes and restaurants in Canberra have been heading south since 24 were handed out in 2012. 

They fell to a record low of four in 2015.

In the following year, the number of orders placed doubled to eight.

Then they dropped slightly in 2017.

At the same time, the number of improvement notices given to ACT food businesses has fallen to its lowest level since 2013, with 372 handed out last year.

ACT Health protection service executive director Conrad Barr attributed the decline in prohibition notices to increased education among businesses in the capital.

"We've been engaging with businesses and helping them to understand their compliance, so there's less serious breaches of the food act," Mr Barr told the Canberra Times.

"A fairly significant one that we've done was publish our food inspection manual online and we've also done a number of education and engagement actions to help too."

He said the most common reasons for non-compliance were lack of hand-washing facilities on site, temperature control not being maintained for potentially hazardous food or the presence of cockroaches or rodents.

"We try and work with the businesses to remove the [reason for the prohibition notice] as soon as possible," he told the newspaper.

"But, the significant risk that led to the imposition of the prohibition notice needs to be addressed by them so we can be confident that if we remove the prohibition notice, there's no ongoing risk to the public."

by Leon Gettler, February 12th 2017.