Keeping our community FOOD safe

When it comes to protecting our residents from food poisoning or food related illness, Yass Valley is in safe hands with Jeff Cartwright, Senior Environmental Health Officer at Council providing over 37 years of service, along with Environmental Health colleagues Mandy Dickens and Hugh Waters.
“Keeping people safe and providing education to our food businesses is my main focus but it is the people I have met through my role that has made my job such a pleasure,” said Jeff Cartwright. "Yass Valley has a very good record for food safety, which is a credit to our local businesses but as with any industry there is always a minority that do the wrong thing.”
“Over the many years that I have been in the role a recent incident witnessed was the defrosting of uncovered seafood and duck breast together in a hand washing basin,” said Jeff. “We also found mouse droppings in the pantry and a cat which freely roamed the kitchen. It is extremely concerning that this business was preparing and selling food to the public in these type of conditions.”
Education is the key to getting food business owners up to speed on what they need to do to keep patrons safe and Council also relies on information received from the public about their experiences at food premises. The main issues commonly found across Yass Valley is a lack of cleanliness and maintenance. 
All food premises are inspected twice a year, and when you add in temporary and mobile food businesses it equates to over 251 inspections for Yass Valley staff to conduct and a whole lot of paperwork to complete. 
“Environmental Services also looks after companion animals, ranger services, illegal dumping, noise pollution, onsite sewage management. You name it, we look after it,” said Environmental Services Coordinator, Mark Livermore. “We are a small, close-knit team working to keep the public safe.”
The NSW Food Authority has an enormous amount of information and resources freely available to businesses or residents. Yass Valley Council encourages people, especially food business operators, to make sure they take advantage of the information available to them.