Scores on Doors food safety program relaunched with business support

04 August, 2014

Bega Valley Shire Council and local food businesses are being congratulated for joining the recently refreshed and improved Scores on Doors program, a star rating system based on the outcome of a routine unannounced food hygiene and safety inspection of a food business.

Speaking at the Food Regulation Partnership food retail meeting in Merimbula, Thursday 31 July 2014, the NSW Food Authority's Director of Compliance, Investigation and Enforcement Peter Day said the council's decision to join the program was already proving a drawcard for the area's food businesses and their customers – locals and visitors alike.

Day said in recognition of the Bega Valley Shire region's commitment to the program the NSW Food Authority was taking the opportunity to launch a new video promoting the Scores on Doors program during its regional visit to Merimbula.

Safety as important as tasty

"This video, which can be seen on our website and our Facebook page, is a fun way of showing that safety is just as important as tasty when it comes to food," he said.

"It explains how the 'Score on the Door' takes the guess work out of what's really going on behind the scenes of your local café, take away or restaurant.

"That transparency is of benefit to both the business and its customers and potential customers."

Bega Valley Shire Mayor Cr Bill Taylor said of the 250 eligible food businesses in the various villages and towns across the Bega Valley Shire 30 had already signed up to the program.

"The Scores on Doors initiative is an effective marketing tool for each of the areas within our shire to promote the standard and quality of the hygiene and food safety of local food businesses," Cr Taylor said.

Promote food safety compliance

"Joining the Scores on Doors program represents a great opportunity for them to collectively promote our shire's level of food safety compliance to locals and visitors alike.

"I applaud those businesses that have already signed up and encourage those who haven't yet to get on board."

Day said benefits of the program could be enjoyed by any council that chooses to take part. "There are now 32 councils across NSW who are participating in Scores on Doors and we look forward to welcoming many more," he said.

"This program benefits customers, it benefits business and it benefits entire communities.

"Scores on Doors ensures there is a consistency of inspection, the consistent assessment delivers certainty to businesses."

Food safety checklist

As part of Scores on Doors a business is assessed against a standardised food safety checklist and assigned a star rating reflecting their performance where 5 stars is Excellent, 4 stars is Very Good and 3 stars is Good.

The result is then displayed prominently in that business, usually on the front door or window, giving consumers transparent access to information and the ability to make an informed choice about the food they eat.

The program was introduced as part of the NSW Food Authority's work to reduce foodborne illness in NSW and is one of a suite of initiatives in place to help improve the safety of food sold across the state.

Cr Taylor said a real attraction of the program was the fact that busy food businesses don't have to do anything above and beyond what they are already doing to participate.

"The scoring system is based upon the inspections that are already conducted by council's Environmental Health Officers," Cr Taylor said.

"This rewards businesses that do the right thing, and encourages others to aspire to do the same."

Added value

Locals, Rosemary and Graham Hamilton, who own and operate Blue Wave Seafood at Bermagui have been awarded a 5 star rating for their business and said that being part of Scores on Doors is an easy way to add value to their business.

"We know how hard we work to have high food hygiene and safety standards and now everyone else does too," Hamilton said.

"It's a no brainer that the business with a five star safety rating hanging over the front door will be the one most attractive to customers."

Scores on Doors is a program displaying results of food premises' regular inspections.