Supermarket fined $2500 after council targets food safety

By SAMANTHA TURNBULL

SOUTH Lismore supermarket, Casagrande's Foodland, is the first business to bear the brunt of a council crackdown on food safety.

A Lismore City Council officer discovered a range of thawed frozen meals, spoiled meats, mouldy cheeses and a packet of vermin-affected coconut dur- ing a safety inspection of the supermarket last February.

Owner Sarge Casagrande was fined $2500 in the Lismore Local Court last week for selling potentially hazardous food, selling food past its used-by date, and selling unsuitable food.

Mr Casagrande said yesterday he thought the fine was fair.

"It could've been a lot higher," he said.

"But the judge took into account the fact I've been in business 40 years and have never had any problems with the health department before."

He also said the council officer had picked an unfortunate day to carry out the inspection.

"It was a 42-degree day and our open-front refrigerator couldn't handle the surge of the heat," he said.

"We were trying to rectify the problem, but technicians were very hard to get hold of at the time."

Days after the inspection, Mr Casagrande upgraded his refrigeration system at a cost of $30,000.

He said the verminaffected coconut had been already taken off the shelf and was not for sale when the inspector discovered it.

Council health officer Sharyn Hunnisett said regular spot checks of Lismore businesses would continue this year.

"The Northern Rivers is building a reputation for clean, high quality food. That image is jeopardised by poor food handling and storage," she said.



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