A NEWTOWN cafe will be counting the cost of stocking banned soy milk for the next year when it is placed on the state government’s name and shame list today.
Luxe Bakery, a popular Missenden Road haunt for locals and staff at Royal Prince Alfred hospital, was fined $660 – of a maximum $500,000 – after the NSW Food Authority caught it carrying Bonsoy during a national recall.
But its owners say it does not belong on a list alongside food outlets caught committing far more serious health, safety and hygiene offences.
Bonsoy was banned in December after it tested positive for elevated iodine levels due to one of the ingredients, kombu seaweed extract. Ten people in NSW, including a newborn, became sick with thyroid complaints as a result.
New batches, which have been reformulated without the seaweed extract, are slowly making their way back into cafes and health food stores after tests found the iodine content had returned to safe levels.
Luxe’s owners say they should not be tarred with the same brush as a Sutherland pizza shop that was caught reusing pizza tins that had come into contact with the garbage bin and a Camperdown caterer that had rodent droppings in its dry-store area.
”It [the infringement] hasn’t made people not come here. People can see in [the kitchen] … it’s not filthy in here,” said the cafe’s co-owner, Simon Cancio.
Mr Cancio said that when the Food Authority raided the cafe on January 21, Luxe was no longer serving Bonsoy, but conceded a couple of boxes were in the stockroom. ”The whole thing has been a real nightmare,” he said.
He said the inclusion on the name and shame list was unfair, but ”life is unfair, what can you do?”.
The Minister for Primary Industries, Steve Whan, said the government had to make an example of the breach to show ”we do not tolerate businesses that breach food safety and put the health of NSW consumers at risk”.
The name and shame website lists 1827 penalty notices, including 152 issued in the past month. A further 23 businesses, including Luxe, will be added today for offences including grease build-up, live cockroaches and no hand-washing facilities.
Food outlets will soon be urged to display their health and safety credentials on their doors with a simple A, B, C system of scoring.
The scheme, which exists in Los Angeles and Singapore, will be trialled in 12 NSW councils from July and will be introduced