The New South Wales Food Authority created the Name and Shame Register several years ago as a method of deterring companies from food safety violations.
According to recent information, this register received more than one million hits to the online site in the past year alone. Overall, since the company began the list it has received more than 7 million hits. This shows proof that people do pay attention to the companies in violation and that does create a deterrent for food businesses.
The Name and Shame Register covers all types of food safety breaches by businesses in New South Wales. The most common violations against the Food Act of 2003 currently on the listing include:
- Failure to Keep Business Clean and Sanitised
- Failure to Maintain Proper Temperatures for Cold and Hot Foods
- Signs of Pest Infestations
- Failure to Ensure Employees Follow Hand Washing Laws
- Failure to Protect Foods from Contamination (Including Personal Hygiene and Storage Offences)
Because the Name and Shame Register does list information about the businesses that have created violations, it is quickly becoming the favoured tool of consumers and companies alike as a method of finding who to avoid purchasing from or doing business with. In the 2011-2012 year, there were a total of 785 names on the register with a total of 1337 penalties.
While that number may seem high, it's proof that this public listing is starting to do its job. In the 2009-2010 fiscal year, there were 1309 businesses and 2329 penalties listed. That's a drastic drop in just a couple of years. This shows that businesses are making more of an effort to follow food safety laws in order to avoid being named on the Name and Shame Register. If consumers continue to pay attention to this listing and avoid businesses that appear on it, this will continue to do its job. Companies can't afford to lose business, so they will make a bigger effort to keep their business name out of the spotlight.
The NSW Minister of Primary Industries, Katrina Hodkinson calls the register a great way to remind businesses just how important it is to follow food safety laws and avoid violations. It seems this register is more successful than fines, which do little to slow business for companies. If you would like to see the Name and Shame Register yourself, then visit www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/penalty-notices. You can see companies on the list as well as their violations.