Greek-Owned Takeaway in Melbourne Faces Court Over Food Safety Violations

Food Act

A Melbourne-based Greek-owned takeaway restaurant, known as Souvlaki GR Frankston, has appeared in court over multiple violations of the Food Act after failing two food safety inspections conducted by Frankston Council.

The restaurant's sole director and the establishment itself pleaded guilty to 13 charges, while the remaining 29 charges were dropped. Despite other media outlets disclosing the proprietor's name, Neos Kosmos has chosen not to publish it.

Magistrate Gerard Bryant expressed astonishment that customers had not fallen ill after consuming food from the restaurant, stating that the establishment failed to meet Australian standards and likening it to a "petri dish masquerading as a souvlaki shop."

The violations came to light during two visits by council inspectors to the Wells Street eatery in October 2022. The inspectors discovered various breaches, including storing frozen chips under a wash basin and finding expired goods such as buttermilk and eggs, some of which were two months past their use-by date.

During the inspection, staff were observed reheating cooked spit meat and mixing it with freshly cooked meat from the spit. The reheated meat was not maintained at the required temperature of over 60°C as per food safety regulations. Additionally, a leak in the bain-marie used to keep food warm was plugged with food handling gloves.

Further violations included the presence of raw chicken skewers and raw pork without use-by dates, expired tubs of dip, malfunctioning sinks for hand washing, overflowing rubbish bins, and unsanitary shop floors. The staff toilet sink was also found to be non-functional.

Frankston council prosecutor Bruce Gardiner emphasized the severity of the violations, noting that each charge could incur maximum fines of $200,000 for the franchise company and $40,000 for the director.

While the company was informed of the violations and allowed a week to address them, subsequent inspections revealed that some issues remained unresolved. The restaurant voluntarily closed after the second visit and had not reopened as of the court hearing. The manager and supervisor were dismissed, and new staff were undergoing training for the reopening.

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