THE owners of Rockingham’s Kent Street Deli have spoken out about their humiliation and embarrassment after being hit with $20,000 in fines for food safety convictions.
Owner and chef Shannon Whitmore was convicted of six breaches of the Food Standards Code.
The convictions relate to failing to store food to protect from contamination; failing to store potentially hazardous food under temperature control and failing to provide a means of effectively drying hands at or near each hand washing facility.
Other breaches include not maintaining a food premises to a standard of cleanliness; not maintaining food business fixtures, fittings and equipment to a standard of cleanliness and food business failed to prevent the harbourage of pests on the food premises.
Mr Whitmore’s wife and co-owner Brooke Whitmore apologised to their customers for the convictions.
“We have worked hard to build ourselves from being more than just a café,” she said.
“We are upset and embarrassed by this whole experience.
“We tried to be open and transparent with Council.”
The family-run business, which has been open for six years, was a Gold Plate finalist and a Rockingham Kwinana Chamber of Commerce award winner.
Mrs Whitmore said the past two years had been difficult, emotionally and financially.
The couple had three young children and had been working long hours.
“I am not blaming our staffing, but it is hard to get good staff,” she said.
Mrs Whitmore said the most challenging aspect of running a business was making staff accountable and having staff realise the importance of maintaining equipment to a high standard.
She said the building was 40-years-old and it seemed like a constant revolving process of maintenance, staff training and staff accountability.
“Shannon is an award-winning chef, so it’s been hard for him,” she said.
Mrs Whitmore said it was the support of their customers that had helped them get through this “tough time.”
The couple have brought in a range of new systems in the aftermath of the convictions.
They have new temperature control systems, a different pest control company, new kitchen cleaning rosters and new equipment.
Mrs Whitmore said all staff now have to update or complete a Foodsafe Certificate to ensure they understand the correct procedures for storing food items.