Doggy-bag dilemma


A recent oversized portion of prawn linguini that left a Western Independent reporter wondering if she’d bitten off more than she could chew has raised questions over restaurant doggy bag policies in metropolitan Perth.

Last month, one author of this article, Renata Grandao, was refused a doggy bag at the popular Jamie’s Italian restaurant in Perth’s CBD.

This left Ms Grandao to ponder whether Jamie Oliver’s well-known stance against food wastage was just a lot of hot air.

Oliver’s website states: “the Western world wastes three times the amount of food needed to feed the planet’s hungriest people”.

“We believe that minimising food waste is vital to maintaining a responsible and sustainable food system,” the website continues.

Jamie’s Italian restaurant’s Risk and Compliance Manager, Marlon Kigonya, said that on the night last month when one of the eatery’s waitresses refused to provide a doggy bag there must have been a miscommunication between the waitress and Ms Grandao.

Mr Kigonya said it was not the restaurant’s policy to refuse doggy bags.

“We do allow it and we make customers aware of it,” he said.

“But as a dine-in restaurant, we’re not geared to offer a take-away option.”

He said that whether to provide a doggy bag or not normally came down to a limited supply of take-away containers and potential health and safety risks.

Jamie's Italian Restaurant, Williams St, Perth

Outside Jamie’s Italian restaurant.

The West Australian Department of Health’s website states that neither the Food Act 2008 nor the Food Regulations 2009 stop businesses from letting diners take their leftover food home.

A document issued by the West Australian Department of Commerce’s Consumer Protection Division states that restaurants are not, however, obliged to supply containers for customers to take food home.

Krystal Bikaun, the Environmental Health Officer at Wanneroo council in Perth’s north, said it was up to restaurants whether or not to allow customers to take home doggy bags.

“It all comes down to reducing the risk of food poisoning,” Ms Bikaun said.

“High risk foods such as meat, rice, dairy, etc., when not stored under appropriate temperature control (five degrees Celsius or less, or 60 degrees Celsius or above) are at risk of rapidly growing bacteria that can cause food poisoning.”

Ribs and Burgers, located in the one40william Food Court not far from Jamie’s Italian, provides a take-away service and doggy-bagging for dine-in customers.

Assistant Manager and Trainer, Amy Holland, said: “If you have a take-away licence, then customers can take food away.”

Ribs and Burgers employee, Bianca Koranis

Ribs and Burgers employee, Bianca Koranis, with an empty doggy bag.

Ms Bikaun also said a ‘two hour to four hour’ practice was a good rule of thumb.

“If it’s been out of the fridge for two to four hours, you should eat it immediately, any longer and it should be thrown away,” she said.

“This is based on the time it generally takes for pathogenic bacteria to grow.”

Pathogenic bacteria is responsible for food borne illnesses such as salmonella and listeria.

The Consumer Protection Division states it is the consumers’ responsibility to store and handle food safely once it is taken away from a restaurant.

They suggest labelling take-away containers with the date and time of food preparation and reheating refrigerated leftovers to steaming hot before consuming.

Categories: General

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