Queensland

Political spat over Normanby Hotel cockroach charges

A political squabble has broken out over fines handed to a well-known Brisbane pub that served a customer mushroom sauce complete with a bonus cockroach.

Brisbane City Council inspected the premises after the shocking find at the historic Normanby Hotel on September 14, 2014, reportedly discovering live and dead cockroaches in the hotel's kitchen over several days.

Brisbane City Council found breaches of health policy at the Normanby Hotel in 2014.
Brisbane City Council found breaches of health policy at the Normanby Hotel in 2014. Photo: Brisbane City Council

News Corp reported hotel operator Revestar Pty Ltd was fined $28,000 after pleading guilty to 12 charges of breaching the food act and company director Otto Wilhelm guilty to three charges, copping a $2000 fine.

Brisbane City Council solicitor Mark Thomas reportedly told the court council inspectors found a poor standard of cleanliness and it wasn't until the seventh inspection the hotel fixed the problem.

Labor Lord Mayoral candidate Rod Harding.
Labor Lord Mayoral candidate Rod Harding. Photo: Michelle Smith

Revestar in-house solicitor Brendan Whelan said it was the first time the company had faced court for breaches and there had been no further incidents during monthly pest inspections.

The case came before Magistrate Barry Cosgrove on Friday and on Saturday Labor lord mayoral candidate Rod Harding lambasted the council, demanding to know why it took seven inspections to have the problem resolved.

He said the case was evidence the council was "failing abysmally" at enforcing food safety standards.

"It is core council business to ensure the food served to people in our city's pubs, cafés and restaurants is safe," he said in a statement.

Image submitted with a complaint about the Normanby Hotel in 2014.
Image submitted with a complaint about the Normanby Hotel in 2014. Photo: Brisbane City Council

"Like most people hearing this story, I'm shocked that it took seven inspections to fix this problem and during that time hundreds of restaurant goers were exposed to unsafe food, which could have led to food poisoning or worse."

Acting Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner hit back, saying anyone criticising the council's actions showed a  disappointing ignorance of the legal process.

"Anyone critical of Council's actions shows an ignorance of the process, and would have put at risk a successful outcome," he said in a statement.

"The food business was closed down by Council during its investigations until its food safety systems were made compliant as we take these complaints very seriously.  

"Council takes a zero tolerance approach to ensure food businesses operate with high standards of food safety and I congratulate Council officers on securing the court ruling."

The Normanby Hotel manager on duty declined to comment.

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