Salad King owner hits out at City of Perth over chicken conviction

Stock image.
Stock image.

A SALAD bar owner convicted for keeping chicken at an unsafe temperature has accused City of Perth health inspectors of unfairly targeting his business.

A Salad King spokesman said the business had been operating for 11 years without an infringement before receiving three in quick succession in late 2017.

But City of Perth Chair Commissioner Eric Lumsden has hit back at the claims, saying food safety inspections were routine and carried across the entire food business sector.

Inspectors visited the St Georges Terrace business on December 7, 2017 and found that adequate hand-washing facilities were not in place.

In a follow-up visit a week later, the inspectors issued another infringement relating to uncleanliness.

On December 21, another infringement relating to uncleanliness was issued after a visit by inspectors on December 20.

The inspectors also found that grilled chicken used in the salads was not stored at a safe temperature.

But the spokesman said the inspectors would not listen to reason.

“We were unfairly targeted by the City of Perth,” he said.

“They didn’t want to work with us or listen to reason.

“They kept coming in all the time and finding new things (for which) to issue infringements.”

He said one of the cleanliness infringements related to a minor oil stain underneath a deep fat fryer that the business did not use.

He said the fryer was owned by the landlord and stored onsite.

The infringement relating to chicken occurred after inspectors took the temperature of cooked chicken in the refrigerator and found it to be unsafe.

But the spokesman said the chicken usually took about four hours to cool in the refrigerator after grilling.

“We go through 18kg of grilled chicken a day, and we grill twice a day – at 8am and 11am,” he said.

“It takes 4.25 hours to cool down in the front counter fridge and they measured it about half an hour after we cooked it.”

He said the business had since changed its process so that chicken was cooled down in the chest freezer first.

The business chose to take the matter to court, but pleaded guilty and was fined $16,000, plus $1800 in costs.

Commissioner Lumsden said it was important to note a guilty plea had been entered.

“The Magistrate commented that the offences were serious and that the wider community has a legitimate expectation that food premises will prepare and handle food in an appropriate manner,” he said.

The spokesman, who said not-for-profit organisation Food Rescue picked up all of their remaining food at the end of each day, said he was not sure if the business would be able to continue.