Costco food courts are a popular destination in Sydney, with a number of eateries offering food in them.
The trend has become so popular that the NSW Department of Primary Industries has created a taskforce to look at food court alternatives for NSW.
One of the first reports commissioned into the issue was commissioned by the NSW Government in June this year.
The report is entitled “Restrictions on mobile devices” and is based on a number more than 100 submissions from consumers and retailers.
It was released to the public in the last week of July and has already received over 100 submissions.
One submission noted the potential for some consumers to end up with food poisoning when they eat at a restaurant.
Some of the recommendations include: restricting use of mobile phones for shopping and socialising, limiting use of tablets and phones and making them accessible to the customer.
The Department of Health has been reviewing mobile food court restrictions since April and has not yet made any recommendations.
“Consumers who use their mobile phones in the restaurant environment are more likely to be at risk of developing foodborne illness,” the Department of Community Health and Social Services (DCHSS) said in a statement.
“Food and beverage facilities must ensure that their premises are safe for patrons to consume.
They should ensure that the facility complies with all relevant safety regulations.”
However, the Department said it was not recommending that restaurants implement any new food court rules or restrict use of phones in food court.
In a statement, the NSW Ministry of Health and Dental Services said they were aware of the concerns and would be consulting with the Department on their approach.
They also said they had consulted with the NSW Food Standards Authority (FSSA), which has also advised them of the need for restrictions.
“The NSW Government has not taken any regulatory action to regulate mobile food courts in NSW,” a spokesperson for the Department told News.au.
“But as the NSW Coalition government has made clear, it is committed to ensuring that there are safe and responsible food outlets that provide safe and nutritious food for NSW families.”
The NSW Government says it is reviewing the situation with the help of the Department and FSSA, which has already provided guidance.
The NSW Department for Primary Industries (DPI) said the taskforce was still developing recommendations, and that there were also a number other areas they needed to look into.
“While it is encouraging that the task force has taken a range of submissions, the government is still assessing all of the evidence and will be making any changes to existing food court policies and practices to ensure that they remain safe and appropriate,” a DPI spokesperson said.
“We want to ensure our food court operators are operating in a safe, appropriate and environmentally friendly manner.”