Cheesecake Factory says ‘seriously’ its food is safe after 2 problematic health inspections

The Cheesecake Factory wants people to know it’s food is safe.

The restaurant is speaking out after two problematic health inspections at its Destiny USA location.

“The Cheesecake Factory takes food safety and sanitation very seriously and is committed to providing a safe dining experience to all of our guests,” Jeff Nemet, Regional Vice President of Operations, told CNYCentral in a statement. “Our 91310634-300x200guests can be assured that our food is safe and of the highest quality, and that we have taken immediate action to correct any deficiencies identified during the recent inspections. We worked closely with the health department and received an all clear following a re-inspection of the restaurant this morning.”

The Onondaga County Health Department says the most recent inspection Tuesday morning was satisfactory. The restaurant will have between 30 and 60 days to repair cracks in the floor of the walk-in freezer and cooler.

The health department found unsatisfactory conditions on two recent visits to the Destiny Cheesecake Factory.

On February 26, 2014:

Raw shrimp and raw chicken in drawer cooler at cook line noted between 64 degrees-68 degrees (corrected).
Reach-in drawer cooler at cook line noted at 64 degrees, not operating properly to maintain temperatures of potentially hazardous foods at or below 45 degrees (corrected).
Establishment failed to notify the Onondaga County Health Department regarding receipt of a possible food illness complaint.

On March 24, 2014:

Raw beef stored next to cheeses and raw whole shell eggs stored next to butter in walk-in produce cooler (corrected).
Male employee observed slicing bread with bare hands, bare hand contact noted (voluntarily discarded).
Employees observed scooping ice without wearing gloves or using approved gloveless scoop, no bare hand contact noted (corrected). Female employee observed placing fruit on glass with tongs using opposite bare hand to push fruit onto glass, bare hand contact noted (voluntarily discarded).
Buckets of sanitizing solution stored next to take-out boxes at server station (corrected). Container of dairy creamer on ice at server station noted at 49 degrees (corrected).
Individual portions of cooked red chili chicken improperly cooling in drawer cooler noted at 65 degrees-70 degrees (corrected).
Cooked chicken improperly cooling in walk-in cooler noted at 63 degrees (corrected).
Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting stored on counter noted at 60 degrees. Cream marinara sauce in hot holding unit at cook line noted at 110 degrees (corrected).
In use knives improperly stored inside preparation top cooler, not considered a clean sanitized surface. Dishes in dish chiller at end of cook line not clean.
Evidence of employee beverage consumption noted in food preparation area.
Clean sanitized dishes not properly air dried before stacking.
Some shelving, some rolling racks and all step ladders not clean.
Floor in walk-in freezer noted cracked poor repair.
Floor in walk-in produce cooler noted in poor repair.

22 sick in Illinois: food poisoning suspected

The Jefferson County Health Department is investigating a possible outbreak of food poisoning which happened April 6.

Health Department Administrator Mark Stevens declined to give the location where the outbreak occurred. He said the department did not begin receiving reports of people becoming sick until April 9.

Becky Brooks, the director of nursing for the health department, said approximately 22 people are part of the department’s investigation, including the ones that presented no symptoms. Brooks confirmed there have been at least two hospitalizations as a result the incident — one person was still hospitalized Monday.

One of the victims said he and three other members of his group became sick following a Sunday brunch at the Holiday Inn and he is part of the investigation. All food at the hotel is prepared by Krieger’s Sports Grill, which is apparently being investigated.

Homemade goods: most Hawaiian lawmakers not in compliance with food safety regulations

State legislators and their staff have been busy whipping up homemade goods for the annual Hawaii Food Bank fundraiser. The effort to raise cash lasts from January to early May and features a variety of fares, from Filipino food to brownies ala mode.   

“Any legislator good with fundraisers often has baked goods from their constituents, so that’s what we find here,” said Rep. Tom Brower.

Hawaii Food Bank fundraiserHowever, unbeknownst to many of the men and women who craft Hawaii’s laws, almost any food sold outside a restaurant or certified kitchen requires a permit.  
“These are short-term events or sales that are going to distribute food to the general public,” explains State Environmental Health Program Manager Peter Oshiro. “Anybody that has or wants to do those types of sales is required to get a temporary food establishment permit from the Health Department.”

Lawmakers organizing the annual drive for the food bank were caught off guard when approached by KITV4 about the need for a Department of Health permit.
“We make the laws here and it wouldn’t be prudent if we didn’t follow the laws that we make, and so it’s all about compliance,” said Vice-Speaker John Mizuno. “I’ll make sure that whenever we send memos at the kickoff of the Hawaii Food Bank fundraising effort, that we attach forms so that offices will know how to be in compliance.”

About 500 temporary food establishment permits are issued by the Health Department every month. Oshiro says the department just wants to make sure that all food is safe.  

Raw sewage, no hot water closes UK kebab shop

The Midhurst kebab shop has been fined for nine offences under food hygiene law in what was described as one of the worst cases of neglect of standards Chichester District Council (CDC) had ever seen.

Istanbul October 2010Following a routine visit by the council’s environmental health officers, the shop was voluntarily closed by Mr Dogdu in January last year after raw sewage was found in the premises close to the food preparation area.

Amongst many other serious matters there was also no working hot water system for washing equipment or hands, mouldy walls and food preparation surfaces in a state of disrepair.

Pleading guilty at Worthing Magistrates’ Court, Mustafa Dogdu who co-runs Ali’s Grill in North Street, has now been fined a total of £650. His brother Mehmed was cautioned by the council for two further offences.

The shop was allowed to reopen two days after the visit when the drains had been unblocked, hot water provided and other works requiring immediate attention completed.

NYC restaurant inspection and disclosure program sucks: expert?

Restaurant inspection and disclosure programs like the A, B, C system favored by New York City, has a lot of problems: but I wouldn’t want to be the politician who says, this public health data is too complicated for you, so it’s secret.

The challenge is how to best improve disclosure systems.

Artyom Matusov, a city council analyst – not sure what that is — told The NY Post that most restaurants haven’t improved since the city instituted its letter-grade inspection system — a sham that has fattened City Hall coffers but hasn’t produced the public-health improvements touted by the city.

qr.code.rest.inspection.grade“We have a government agency that’s willing to blatantly lie to the public. If we can’t trust the Health Department to provide real scientific data . . . then we can’t trust any agency.”

Maybe somewhat over the top, but there’s so many caveats with inspection and disclosure systems that it’s easy pickings.

The city trumpeted data that showed more restaurants got an A grade on their initial inspection since the start of the program.

But that method overrepresents the number of A grades, since A’s will “stick around longer” — up to a year before another inspection.

“The city’s restaurant grading system is completely arbitrary . . . and most restaurants aren’t doing well on the test, which itself is convoluted and impossible to figure out,” Matusov said.

Working for the council’s Governmental Operations Committee, Matusov looked at how each restaurant performed during the initial inspection cycle to see if the new system was having an effect.

He found stagnation — about 30 percent of restaurants got A’s before and after the new system started.

“[The DOH] was saying to us that what we’re seeing is clear progress . . . There’s actually no improvement since before letter grading. It’s flat,” he noted.

“There’s been no improvement to overall health of New York City restaurants. It’s just a runaround game — we’re just trying to plug holes,” said Josh Grinker, chef at Brooklyn’s Stone Park restaurant.

Grinker said there’s no telling which violations, some having nothing to do with food, an inspector will target — for example, the construction of a non-food-contact surface.

“There’s something wrong with a department that’s supposed to be protecting the health of its citizens that isn’t looking at . . . factors that actually might have an impact on people’s health,” he said.

In March, the city tweaked its inspection system, making it less punitive by making a shift toward educating business owners first before fining them.

The DOH refused to answer any questions. The City Council, through spokesman Eric Koch, said that it “continues to monitor the restaurant grading system to ensure that it is effective in keeping restaurants safe for the public and that it is fairly administered.”

Tofu yum: liquid effluent, stagnant water and mice infestation found at illegal UK tofu factory

An illegal tofu factory in Erith has been busted by Bexley Council twice in a month after it was found to be infested with mice.

Food safety officers first visited the business, Soy, in Hailey Road on March 18 following a tip-off and found the illegal production of tofu.

The unregistered property was not only operating unlawfully but found to be unhygienic, ridden with mice and full of “stagnant water and liquid effluent”.

tofu.productionThe officers ordered the owners to close it immediately and had the food destroyed.

However last week, officers were suspicious and did a follow up visit with police and discovered the factory still operating.

A Hygiene Emergency Prohibition Order and a food Condemnation Order has since been granted by Bromley Magistrates’ Court for the premises. All food and equipment was seized from the premises.

Bexley Council will now pursue further legal proceedings against the business owners. 

Canadian restaurant inspections uncover repeated, major violations

Canada’s (self-proclaimed) biggest analysis of public health inspection reports from national chain restaurants reveals that almost one-in-four inspections has at least one major violation, a CBC Marketplace investigation has found.

Major violations, such as improper food handling, inadequate handwashing and failing to keep food at safe temperatures, have the potential to negatively affect human health.

toronto.red.yellow.green.grades.may.11In the largest investigation of its kind, Marketplace analyzed the data from a year’s worth of public health restaurant inspections in five Canadian cities — Vancouver, Calgary, Regina, Toronto and Ottawa — almost 5,000 reports in total. Two statisticians from the University of Toronto analyzed the data.

 “Food safety is a very serious matter,” says Jim Chan, a retired public health inspector who spent 36 years with Toronto Public Health. “The public has a right to know so they can make informed choices.”

In some cases, Marketplace discovered that serious problems continued even after restaurants were notified by public health inspectors:

A Subway restaurant in Calgary was cited by health inspectors three times for contaminated cleaning cloths.

A Moxie’s in Vancouver failed to keep food at a safe temperature during three consecutive inspections.

A Tim Hortons in Calgary was written up by inspectors five times for a fly infestation.

According to the reports, handwashing was a significant problem in most cities, as was general kitchen cleanliness.

sylvannus.toronto.2005In addition to the statistical analysis of report results, Marketplace used a hidden camera to document troubling behaviour at several locations.

​Retired Vancouver public health inspector Domenic Losito was alarmed by footage showing garbage strewn all over the kitchen floor at one restaurant.

​“At least try to get the garbage in the garbage can, but – I think I would have walked into this place, walked out and filed a closure notice right away. I just – it’s just unacceptable,” he said.

Restaurants Canada, the group representing the restaurant industry, refused to speak on camera about the investigation.

The group opposes the public posting of inspection grades, such as those used by Toronto Public Health in its award-winning DineSafe program. In Toronto, restaurants are required to post inspection results where patrons can see them. The DineSafe cards are colour-coded (green for “pass,” yellow for “conditional pass,” and red for “closed”) to make results easy to understand.

Restaurants Canada says the yellow cards are “problematic and misleading” because there are many factors that depend on subjective assessment and that grades present an oversimplified picture of safety.

The group says that consumers who want to know how a restaurant has performed during inspections should access the reports online.

While many jurisdictions make inspection reports available online, some do not make results public.

Fancy food ain’t safe food – Welsh curry edition

A curry house voted the best in Wales only last year has been fined £10,000 after food hygiene inspectors found rat droppings on the premises.

The owners of Llanymynech’s Bengal Spices, Rabiul Alam, 34, and Mizanur Chowdhury, 43, pleaded guilty to nine food hygiene breaches when they appeared at Llandrindod Magistrates Court this week.

Llanymynech’s Bengal SpicesThe restaurant was closed in November 2013 after Powys County Council (PCC) received a complaint from a member of the public.

Nigel Vaughan, prosecuting, said that inspectors found rat droppings in the toilets and the lobby near the kitchen area.

They also found evidence of “gnawing”.

Mr Vaughan said the restaurant displayed “unacceptable standards of cleanliness” and food premises, articles, fittings and equipment were not kept in a “clean condition”.

The court heard the restaurant had also failed to ensure food was thawed safely, while other food was found uncovered.

The owners also admitted to failing to follow procedures based on the HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) procedure.
Magistrates heard they had signed off to confirm daily checks had been carried out.

Maybe don’t quit your day job? UK restaurant mentored by TV food guru Russell Norman given one star hygiene rating

A restaurant mentored by television food guru Russell Norman in his BBC show scored just one star in a food hygiene inspection.

A fridge at Desi Fusion – featured on The Restaurant Man show – was found with mouldy and dirty seals, staff were unsure of basic food safety practices and wash hand basins were missing.

Desi FusionThe Indian take away in Coventry was picked up on 10 points, which also included contamination risks from raw and cooked food being stored together.

The food hygiene report, released under the Freedom of Information Act, was completed in October by the city council.

Norman followed mum-of-ten Nahida Mahmood as she opened the restaurant the previous June.

The episode of The Restaurant Man, which follows people who ditch their day jobs to enter the trade, was broadcast on BBC2 in February.

Norman said he would “eat her food any day of the week”.

But the project floundered as the full-time social worker Nahida, 52, ignored his suggestions despite not having a firm business plan of her own.

There’s no problem here; UK tourist sues over Salmonella ‘nightmare holiday’ in Bulgaria

Catherine Lowe, aged 26, came down with Salmonella poisoning during a stay at a hotel in Bulgaria.

The healthcare assistant needed to be hooked up to a drip at a local medical centre when her symptoms left her dangerously dehydrated, and she still suffers from irritable bowel syndrome two years on.

Laguna-Park-Hotel-inCatherine says the trip was a ‘complete nightmare’.

Her solicitors have issued court proceedings against holiday company Thomas Cook as part of efforts to win compensation.

Catherine fell ill six days into her 10-day holiday at the Laguna Park resort in June 2012.

She suffered severe diarrhoea and stomach pains, and was given treatment at a Bulgarian clinic, but still felt unwell when she returned home to Worsbrough, Barnsley.

Her GP quickly diagnosed salmonella food poisoning.

“I was appalled by the conditions at the Laguna Park Hotel,” said Catherine.

“I was looking forward to visiting Bulgaria.

Meals meant to be served hot were ‘undercooked at best’, she says.

“I witnessed chefs at the restaurant sometimes handling raw meat with the same utensils they used on other foods,” she said.

“When I tried to complain to hotel staff about the conditions in the restaurant and the general hygiene of the hotel they were extremely rude and would not accept that there was a problem.”