A NELSON BAY Asian restaurant has been caught storing food on the kitchen floor and leaving cooked meat on a bench at room temperature.
L'il Buddha at Nelson Bay Diggers was fined $660 in March and is among Hunter food outlets added to the NSW Food Authority's name and shame website this week.
The restaurant was fined for failing to store food to protect it from contamination, including storing raw food above ready-to-eat food, and having other food on the kitchen floor.
It also received a fine for storing cooked chicken and raw meats on a bench at room temperature, and for letting prawns defrost at room temperature.
Owner Alex Chan said the fines came out of one mistake by staff when he was not at the premises and unable to explain the situation to the health inspector.
He said he had since fixed the problem and counselled staff.
"My kitchen is spotless," he said. "Even staff in local clubs tell me they wouldn't eat anywhere else."
He said the name and shame website system unfairly stigmatised businesses.
"People get fined for a mistake that staff do and the business gets damaged."
Nelson Bay RSL, now Diggers, was the first Hunter outlet named on the website in July 2008 after inspectors repeatedly found cockroaches.
The Oaks Restaurant in Greta Workers Bowling Club was fined $660 in January for an accumulation of food waste, grease, and other visible matter in the kitchen and storing food on the floor in the coolroom and the dry storage area.
A restaurant spokesman said the first fine was due to grout coming off the walls, which was not repaired because the club intended to rebuild the kitchen.
The second was because boxes of unprepared vegetables were kept on the floor.
Ming's Tea Coffee and Cake at Boolaroo was fined $330 in March for an accumulation of food waste, grease, dead insects, and other visible matter inside the premises. Owner Ming Wai declined to comment.