Popular Canberra bakery fined 10K for food safety breaches

The clean up took only hours, but the risk to public health through potentially contaminated food has seen one of Canberra’s largest private bakeries fined $10,000.

bread.nerdsThat Bagel Place, also known as Bread Nerds, pleaded guilty in the ACT Magistrates Court to seven charges of not complying with food standards and was convicted and sentenced on Friday, almost two-and-a-half years after the breaches.

The charges stem from an inspection in August 2012, but the case has been delayed while the ACT Supreme Court ruled on the legality of charging offenders with multiple counts for breaches of the Food Act.

Court documents said health authorities went to the Hume premises on August 29 after receiving a complaint from the public.

Inspectors issued the business with a prohibition notice the next day, forcing it to shut, as it was deemed to be selling food that was a risk to public health.

The owners had the bakery clean within hours and were able to reopen that afternoon.

Inspectors took a number of photographs during the initial inspection, which showed unclean surfaces that risked contamination and issues that made cleaning difficult.

Breaches included general uncleanliness and a buildup of residue on the dough mixer, bagel roller, bagel conveyor, oven, floors, benches and surfaces.

Food was also stored incorrectly, with food products on the floor, bags left open, uncovered dry ingredients, and unclean food storage containers and tubs.

In one example, hydraulic fluid was found above open bags of flour and seeds.

Owner Shane Peart, in an interview with the authorities, admitted that the bakery had been “unclean” and “that the bakery was not in a satisfactory condition”.

Defence lawyer Adrian McKenna told the court on Friday that the offences should be seen as low-to-mid range.

Mr McKenna said his client had accepted responsibility and, although there had been reasons for the breaches, he made no excuses.

Media not paying attention in Lebanon so police to begin raiding non-compliant restaurants

Minister Wael Abu Faour announced Wednesday a new strategy to refocus the media’s attention on his food safety campaign: raids.

media.scoopThe ministry will order a food shop or factory found to be selling contaminated food to stop. If they don’t, the ministry will ask security forces to hit them with raids and shut down their shops, Abu Faour explained.

The minister said his new plan comes as a result of a decline in the media’s attention to his campaign launched in November.

In the first couple weeks of the campaign, he had showered the media with praise, attributing their close coverage of the contaminated food scandal to the success in getting them to shape up.

Many newspapers used to reproduce the lists of food safety violators that Abu Faour had named during his televised press conferences, sometimes with front-page features. But in the past few weeks, media have dedicated less attention to the campaign.

And since media have stopped publishing the list of violators, blacklisted establishments have begun showing little interest in making sure their products meet standards, Abu Faour said.

Food Safety Talk 71: Bungee Jumping vs. Skydiving

Food Safety Talk, a bi-weekly podcast for food safety nerds, by food safety nerds. The podcast is hosted by Ben Chapman and barfblog contributor Don Schaffner, Extension Specialist in Food Science and Professor at Rutgers University. Every two weeks or so, Ben and Don get together virtually and talk for about an hour.  They talk about what’s on their minds or in the news regarding food safety, and popular culture. They strive to be relevant, funny and informative — sometimes they succeed. You can download the audio recordings right from the website, or subscribe using iTunes.1422538910457

The fellows start the podcast by catching up on their travels, and Don talks about Brazil and Ben about Canada. Don also talked about his new podcast workflow using an app that converts webpages to PDF files and sends it directly to Dropbox.

Surprisingly, they immediately embark in a food safety conversation and Ben mentioned a recent C. perfringens outbreak in Maryland at a food safety conference where 266 people became ill presumably by eating Chicken Marsala. The actual food served was not sampled, however stool samples were positive for C. perfringens. This outbreak sparks a discussion of the work by food safety expert Frank Bryan. In response to an outbreak at a school, Frank performed an observation study, where he had the cafeteria staff redo everything identifying the risk associated with that outbreak.  The discussion turns to Denmark where three individuals died of Listeriosis after eating asparagus soup. Dr. Charles Haas tweeted the asparagus soup recipe has a dairy component and the soup may be served hot or cold which might be the risk associated with the outbreak.

Once again, they talk about cutting boards in response to Don’s Facebook post. There has been previous discussion about how many cutting boards a kitchen should have. Don who himself owns 10 cutting boards, raises a better question to how risk is managed, or when to throw away a used cutting boards. Dr. Cliver, a former professor at UC Davis, has done published on plastic and wooden cutting boards.  Ben recalled that Dr. Cliver compared raw milk and apple cider with bungee jumping and skydiving. While Don does not agree with this metaphor, he thinks that Dr. Cliver would have been a great podcast guest. Speaking of guests, the hosts updated their short list to include retired government scientists Jack Guzewich, and Carl Custer.  The show-noter for this episode also gives a shout out to Dr. Freeze who was not just an awesome podcast guest, but also an inspiration and role model for female food safety scientists.

Ben turns the talk to tech by mentioning an iTunes application that he uses to scan receipts and important notes, and Don counters with his PDF app of choice, which reminds him of his dislike of university reimbursement logistics. Don calms down to recommends music software that helps him focus.

The show wraps, up with discussion of a blog post by Doug Powell: “Who are you? Scientist, Writer, Whatever”, and Don adds that to be a good scientist, one must be a good writer, since one must write to publish, and doing experiments without publishing them is not science. Then they talk about how social media can be useful in helping in food safety, citing a restaurant in Alaska that was closed after a Facebook post led to health department inspection.

UK Chinese takeaway fined for poor hygiene and violating regulations

The Fortune House takeaway has been fined for poor hygiene in its kitchen and violating health and safety regulations.

fortune.houseThe Chinese takeaway in Chessington Road, Ewell, was fined £1,200 and ordered to pay £400 towards the legal costs incurred by Epsom Council who brought the prosecution.

An inspection by environmental health officers found raw chicken defrosting at the sink next to a bag of cooked rice while raw meat and ready to eat foods were being prepared on the same work surface.

The cross-contamination, which might have caused food poisoning, came after the owner Simon Tsang had previous given assurances that hygiene would be improved.

He pleaded guilty to three food safety offences at South East Surrey Magistrates Court on Tuesday, January 13.

He admitted to not having a food safety management system in place, not supervising or training staff in food hygiene and not taking steps to prevent cross-contamination.

Councillor Jean Steer, chairman of the social committee, said: “In premises such as the Fortune House, safe and hygienic handling and storage of raw meats and other foods is essential in preventing against the risk of food poisoning, especially that of E. coli O157 cross contamination.

“The council’s environmental health officers aim to work with local businesses to maintain and improve standards and offer advice to help them improve food safety and to comply with food safety regulations.

“However, when a business ignores the advice given to them and puts consumers at risk through their failure to meet accepted hygiene standards, the council will not hesitate to step in to protect the public.”

Should I stay or should I go? California deli being sued over Salmonella outbreak

A lawsuit was filed this week on behalf of an Oxnard woman alleging she and at least seven others contracted Salmonella poisoning after eating last year at Brent’s Deli in Thousand Oaks.

The suit, filed Monday in Ventura County Superior Court, indicates as many as 21 people might have been victims of the outbreak, including two employees of Brent’s. Yet Ventura County and state health officials never issued a public warning.

Trevor Quirk, a Ventura attorney representing the woman, Stephanie Wehr, said the owners of Brent’s knew there was a problem with Salmonella contamination at the restaurant when his client ate there Aug. 2.

“They had numerous chances to deal with the problem but they failed to do so,” Quirk said.

Marc Hernandez, a managing partner with Brent’s, would not comment on the lawsuit, saying he had yet to see it. But he said “the health and safety of our customers and employees is of the absolute importance.”

“Our focus has always been customer satisfaction and providing a high-quality experience to the thousands of loyal customers who visit our restaurants,” he said in an email.

Victorian eateries (the Australian ones) with poor hygiene have been named, shamed, fined $450K

Dozens of restaurants, cafes and other eateries in Victoria have copped about $450,000 in fines for breaches of food safety rules.

rest.inspection.victoria.jan.15Most of the culprits were Asian food venues, which were prosecuted for offences ranging from failure to protect food from contamination by pests to knowingly handling food in an unhealthy manner.

Offenders caught by council health inspectors are “named and shamed” on a state Health Department website for a year.

About 30 businesses are listed for convictions recorded over the past 18 months.

Former Southbank restaurant Olla Messa was fined $90,000 in April last year for poor storage of food and failing to keep out pests.

A court was told the City of Melbourne temporarily shut down the eatery after two patrons complained of an infestation of cockroaches.

An inspection of the restaurant found an unsealed grease trap and live and dead cockroaches “throughout the premises.”

Roaches, mold, slime found at routine Georgia restaurant inspection

Laura Berrios of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that a Fulton County health inspector found live roaches in the facility of a Philly & Wings Plus in southwest Atlanta. The routine inspection also turned up slime, mold and food debris in the ice machine.

Philly & Wings PlusPhilly & Wings Plus, 1722 Campbellton Road, Atlanta, scored a 41/U, the second failing routine inspection for the restaurant.

The inspector said management needed retraining in food safety because there was a lack of awareness in key areas of risk control.

For example, points were taken off because employees were not washing their hands properly.

And fined, again: Owner of UK restaurant banned from running food businesses after premises found to be dirty for third time

A restauranteur has been barred from running any food business after he was convicted of running a dirty Chinese restaurant for the third time in 11 years.

Oriental Cuisine restaurant in Cattawade Street, BranthamShek Kwok, of Parker Road, Colchester, had admitted seven offences relating to the Oriental Cuisine restaurant in Cattawade Street, Brantham.

At the 60-year-old’s Ipswich Crown Court sentencing Recorder Simon Blackford made Kwok subject to an indefinite hygiene prohibition order and a community order with a three-month curfew from 9pm to 2am.

Kwok was also ordered to pay £750 costs and £60 to the victims’ fund.

Recorder Blackford said he was aware the order would deprive Kwok of his livelihood but due to his history and attitude it was required as his continued involvement in the management of food premises would pose a real risk to the public.

How about disclosure? Wisconsin restaurants support new food safety standards

Ed Lump, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association, writes in the LaCrosse Tribune that to say food safety in restaurants and other food outlets is important is an understatement. However, the public doesn’t hear much about it unless there is an actual outbreak of foodborne illness. Occasionally, awareness is heightened by publication in local newspapers or TV segments about restaurant inspection reports.

restaurant.inspectionOn Jan. 1, we took another big step forward as a new law (strengthening a 20-year-old existing law) went into effect. The original law requires that every restaurant in Wisconsin, regardless of size, have at least one manager on staff certified in food safety (Certified Food Protection Manager). To become certified, the manager has to pass a state approved exam.

The existing law also requires that a Certified Food Protection Manager be recertified every five years. However, recertification was accomplished by class time — no exam. Now an exam is required for both original certification and recertification. WRA feels this is the best way to ensure the manager demonstrates knowledge and is up-to-date on current science and food codes. By the way, the city of Milwaukee has required this since 2008, which our association also supported.

This is why food safety knowledge accountability is critical. WRA supported this stricter re-certification process because it helps to protect customers, restaurants and our industry from dangerous and costly outbreaks of foodborne illness.

Lump doesn’t say whether that certified manager has to be present or at home.

That’s where disclosure can play a role.

Sari Lesk of Stevens Point Journal Media, home of Portage county, Wisconsin, writes that Portage County diners can now go online, before they go out, to find out how a local restaurant performed in its most recent health inspection.

Public access to the inspection reports, contained on a portal called Healthspace, went live Monday. A link to the portal is available on the county’s home page.

restaurant.inspection.la.porn.mar.13The inspections date back to July 2013 and will, over time, display the results for three years’ worth of data. The information is organized alphabetically by restaurant name.

Users can tell if a restaurant’s health violations fall under one of three categories:

  • Priority: Violations such as improper cooking, reheating, cooling, or handwashing. These violations are known to cause foodborne illnesses. Uncorrected priority observations usually result in a reinspection.
  • Priority foundation:Violations such as no soap or single-use toweling available for handwashing, failure of the person in charge to properly train employees, not maintaining required documentation, labeling or records. These observations support or enable a priority violation and may contribute to a foodborne illness. Priority foundation observations will be reexamined during the next routine inspection.
  • Core:Violations that usually relate to general sanitation, operational controls, sanitation standard operating procedures, facilities or structures, equipment design, or general maintenance. Core observations will be reexamined during the next routine inspection.

The website also lists recommendations for correcting the violations, and notes whether they were corrected in a follow-up inspection.

Public health environmental specialist Lindsay Benaszeski cautions that the information should be looked at as a snapshot in time, but that the business owners she’s told about the online access have largely been receptive to the idea, adding, “It’s kind of a way to showcase their facility if they’re doing a great job,” she said.

Some restaurant owners disagree, however. Jim Billings, president of the Portage County Tavern League and owner of Final Score, said he thinks the information could be easily misconstrued by someone who does not work in the restaurant business.