On Tuesday, the Hamilton (New Jersey) Township Council unanimously passed a food safety ordinance that will hike fines on local restaurants that repeatedly fail health and safety inspections. hamiltontownship_406x250Ordinance 15-025 increases the current $250 fine to $350 for restaurants that fail food safety inspections three times in a two-year period and stipulates a $500 fine for food establishments that fail food safety inspections four times in a two-year period. Any local restaurant getting four unsatisfactory inspections in a two-year period would have to be closed for at least 72 hours and correct all violations before being allowed to reopen. The council had previously rejected a proposed ordinance to increase the fine to $500 for a third occurrence and $750 for a fourth one, with the council president calling that “a little too intrusive.” In addition to instituting higher fines, the ordinance also requires township food establishments to post their inspection reports in a prominent and easily visible spot near the main entrance of the facility. Prompting the new ordinance was a Hepatitis A outbreak this past November linked to Rosa’s Restaurant and Catering. First a Rosa’s employee contracted Hepatitis A, and then several more area residents were also sickened, although health officials were not sure the later cases were related to the first one. In the months before the outbreak, Rosa’s had received multiple health violations.