An Adelaide food company has been fined nearly $29,000 after a council inspection found sausages 18 days past their use by date and hams with expiry stickers removed.
Omega Foods pleaded guilty to 13 Food Act offences after the City of Charles Sturt also found rodent droppings, mould and cobwebs at the company’s Hindmarsh premises.
Magistrate Susan O’Connor imposed a fine of almost $29,000 but said an expiation notice could have resulted in a higher fine of more than $32,000 if the council had not launched court proceedings.
She said the family-run business, which was launched in 1959, had a proud history in South Australia but took too long to replace its deli manager.
It resulted in stock not being rotated properly and too much stock being ordered.
“The company has been an exemplary corporate citizen and has taken its responsibilities seriously,” Ms O’Connor said.
“The company should have done better in relation to those matters given its corporate history.
“There was no real danger to the public [but] there was a potential danger.”
Ms O’Connor said the business was housed in a historic building made of fairly porous material, although it was in the process of renovating it.
Inspection followed public tip-off
Charles Sturt’s public health manager Donna Dunbar said the council’s inspection followed a tip-off from the public.
Inspectors then identified ready-to-eat foods that had the potential to cause “significant negative health impacts”.
“Council believed that the seriousness and numerous breaches warranted council to prosecute this business,” Ms Dunbar said.
Omega Foods also paid a Victims of Crime Levy of more than $2,000.
The council requested that the company pay court costs but Ms O’Connor rejected the request because Omega Foods already faced significant legal fees.
The company’s lawyer, Tony Kerin, said the matter had been lengthy and complex.
“It has taken a lot of time, cost, and expense and resources and my client’s very glad it’s over,” he said.