In News & Releases by Clyde Mooney

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Owner of the Sportsman Hotel in Spring Hill has been issued with $20k in fines, after a history of foodservice compliance issues, most recently rat faeces found in the kitchen.

84-year-old Neil Joseph McLucas, owner of the Sportsman, pleaded guilty this week in Brisbane Magistrates Court to eight food safety breaches.

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In February 2018 Council officers found rodent droppings in multiple locations within the hotel’s kitchen, which were clearly evident in photographs of the areas presented to Court.

Council prosecutor Charlotte Hoskin noted that while most of the droppings had been on floor surfaces, they demonstrated regular cleaning wasn’t being undertaken and that “the presence of rodents themselves indicates the rodents could have been present on any surface in the kitchen while unattended”.

Hoskin cited fact that the business had a chequered history in regards to food safety audits by Council. It had been issued improvement notices in 2005 and 2008 regarding cockroach infestations, was hit with an immediate suspension of licence in 2013 due to another cockroach infestation, and a further infringement notice in 2016.

McLucas’ defence attorney offered that his client was aware of the rodent problem and was attempting alternative options before using traps. The court also heard claim McLucas had been operating food businesses for 45 years without ever receiving a complaint from the public.

“My client has no criminal conviction and no history tendered in relation to offences against the Food Act.”

Magistrate Michael Quinn was unconvinced the finding was out of character, given the droppings clearly visible in the photographs. 

“They do show, in my view, poor compliance with the regulatory regimen … this is just not a one-off failing in standards.

“It’s so obvious, it just couldn’t be missed. There’s a lot of it.”

Quinn fined McLucas $20,000, but no conviction was recorded.