The number of eateries that fail hygiene tests in New South Wales is decreasing, according to the state government.
Data from the NSW Food Authority, published by Fairfax Media on Sunday, showed more than 3500 of the 36,000 inspected premises failed hygiene inspection tests.
AAP reports the figures translate to one in 10 eateries in NSW having been fined for food safety breaches such as preparing meals with dirty equipment or in unsanitary preparation areas, and lack of hand-washing facilities.
But NSW Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson said the number of those listed on the authority's "name and shame" register had actually declined in the past couple of years.
She said 785 eateries were listed on the register in 2011/12 with 1337 penalty notices between them, compared to 1309 businesses listed in 2009/10 with 2329 penalties.
She told AAP on Sunday thatt more retail food businesses were being forced to "clean up their act" due to the loss to their reputation in being listed on the register.