Public health ispectors are there for a reason: Law frowns on California students’ front-yard, food-sharing fridge

An experiment by University of California, Davis students to share food with the community proved to be a successful, yet illegal, venture.

davis.front.lawn.fridge.jan.15Yolo County health officials say Ernst Bertone and his roommates broke the law by putting a refrigerator on their lawn with a sign reading, “Take what you need. Leave what you don’t.”

The students say their experiment worked because people began sharing food.

Bertone and his roommates charted it all, posting photos of the food people put in the communal refrigerator and what they took out. They kept a database too, showing that 122 items were collected in more than 30 days.

Their neighbors, the Swinehearts, liked it and used it. But someone complained, prompting county environmental health to shut down the sharing fridge.

The director said the open refrigerator doesn’t assure safe and pure food and that it can lead to people getting sick.

China regulator to strengthen ‘grim’ food, drug safety control

Food and drug safety in China is “grim” and will get stronger oversight, the food and drug regulator said on Wednesday, after a series of scares last year hit the reputations of global firms such as McDonald’s Corp and Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

Grim_ReaperThe China Food and Drug Administration has struggled to control a string of high-profile scandals over the years, from donkey meat products tainted with fox, heavy metals in baby food and allegations of expired meat sold to fast-food chains.

“We must soberly recognise the current foundations of China’s food and drug safety are still weak, with new and old risks together creating a grim situation,” the regulator said in a statement on its website after a meeting in Beijing this week.

China will increase “active” regulation to prevent food and drug safety scares, with more on-site inspections, random tests and unannounced visits, the regulator said. The quality of personnel, legal structures, management methods and technological aspects were all currently insufficient, it said.

Winnipeg restaurant closures due to dishwasher problems

Winnipeg or, The ‘peg, as it’s known in some hoser circles has been cracking down on food safety in restaurants with fifteen health inspection-related closures since June. According to the Winnipeg Free Press poor cleaning and sanitizing have been a common theme in the closures.winnipeg

Mike LeBlanc, Manitoba Health’s chief public health inspector, said it’s one reason why when inspectors fan out across Winnipeg and the province to check out the more than 9,000 eating establishments, one of the items on their checklist is whether the dishwasher is heating and sanitizing properly.

“They need to get at least to 71 C — 65 or 68 might not be killing cold or flu viruses on the edge of a glass, so they have to be 71 C,” LeBlanc said (I’d be much more worried about noro -ben).

“And as for sanitizing, they can get chlorine test strips, but many times restaurants don’t use them. But for cases we find, it may just be bad luck on their part that it stopped working a day or two before we got there.”

Two restaurants were closed temporarily in the second half of 2014 by health inspectors because their dishwashers weren’t functioning properly.

They’re just two of the 15 restaurants that were closed for health violations since the last health-protection report was issued in June. In total, 24 restaurants were temporarily closed during the year for health violations.

“We’re there to keep an eye open for the public because they are not allowed into the back kitchen,” LeBlanc said.

“We are out there looking for things and protecting the public’s health, between what we do and the diligence of the restaurant community.”

Kansas prisons yield repeat food safety violations

Dirty kitchen conditions and violations repeated for several months are among some of the more consistent findings in food safety inspections for Kansas prisons. the corrections department adheres to Kansas Department of Agriculture food safety guidelines, like restaurants, it doesn’t rely on KDA staff to do the inspections.

Instead, both monthly and sporadic audits are conducted by Kansas Department of Corrections employees, some of whom work in the facilities they inspect.

“I hear what you’re saying in terms of looking like it’s all under one DOC umbrella,” said Jeremy Barclay, spokesman for the KDOC. “But we interact with so many different state agencies and branches of government and different divisions within the agency, that it’s pretty secure.”

The inspections cover the 19 months between January 2013 and July 2014. They include seven of the state’s 10 prisons and total 19 facilities, such as satellite units. The KDOC filled the request free of charge, because another entity already had requested the inspections. Inspections weren’t provided for the Topeka, Lansing and Larned juvenile correctional facilities because they weren’t in the original request.

blues.brothers.jailhouse-rockThe nearly 340 inspections show noncompliance and deficiencies month after month at several facilities.

The Kansas Juvenile Correctional Facility in Topeka, for example, repeated several mistakes for at least 10 months, including not taking proper temperature logs; not enforcing handwashing and glove use; not having employees and staff restrain hair properly; not keeping accurate chemical logs; and not having inmate staff up to date on food safety training.

Aramark holds the food service contracts in all the prisons, save the KJCF, which switched last October to Trinity Services Group after the service went out for bid. It was awarded a nearly $400,000 contract to work from October 2013 through June 2014.

In each prison, Aramark pays for a manager, an assistant manager and food service supervisors. Under them, are the inmates, Barclay said.

Inmate workers are supposed to be trained and supervised, but 20 inspections show those areas lacking for several months — half of which came from the KJCF.

Crack down on food safety in Adelaide

Adelaide (that’s in Australia) City Council inspectors warned dozens of city restaurants, cafes, karaoke bars, a takeaway shop and convenience store about their health breaches in 2013-14.

UnknownWhile no city businesses have been prosecuted in the past four years, triple the number of businesses were fined for a breaching a range of food laws, according to figures obtained by The Advertiser.

At least nine businesses were fined between $500 and $2500 — depending on whether the operator was a sole trader or a bigger company — for poor food storage and handling, lack of cleanliness, having animals or pets on the premises or having inadequate equipment.

Authorities warned that while they had a zero tolerance for those breaking the law, they said working with the 1000-plus city food businesses often achieved better results for public safety.

Figures show that over the past financial year, 44 businesses were warned, fined or told they had to improve their operations, compared to 28 the previous year and 19 in 2011/12.

The number of businesses ordered to improve almost tripled in three years.

Industry experts say such notices can be issued for improved maintenance such as a cracked tile on the floor under the oven or cobwebs on a toilet ceiling.

Restaurant and Catering Industry Association deputy chief executive Sally Neville, said it was reassuring the council was “cracking down on those few offenders.”

FDA investigating Pennsylvania Asian food supplier

The United States Food and Drug Administration is investigating a food warehouse that in August had one of its trucks pulled over in Lawrence County for carrying spoiled food.

According to a letter sent Dec. 9 to NYWP Enterprise LLC, the FDA found numerous violations at its warehouse in McKees Rocks, Pa. between Oct. 15 and Oct. 30, including:

  • FDA inspectors found pests in the food plant. An apparent rodent nest was found in a plastic box containing thawing red meat.
  • Plumbing was not properly installed.
  • Rodenticides were found near food.
  • The warehouse failed to take proper precautions to reduce food contamination from chemicals.
  • The warehouse had inadequate drainage.
  • They did not properly store equipment and remove litter and waste.
  • There was inadequate workspace.
  • Improper storage of single-service items.
  • Improper lighting fixtures were found over food.
  • Employees were found using tobacco near food.

The list of violations was posted to the FDA’s website on Dec. 24. The company acknowledges the list of violations and said they are committed to maintaining and operating a facility that provides the highest quality service for its customers.

However, the FDA said the company did not provide proper documentation to detail how they would fix the violations.


Chinese officials dismissed over diseased meat scandal

China has dismissed eight officials after pork from pigs infected with a “highly contagious virus” was found to have entered the market, state media said Monday.

PigThe country’s latest food scandal was revealed in an investigation by state broadcaster China Central Television which said the annual revenue of the tainted pork was more than 20 million yuan.

The meat had come from slaughterhouses in the city of Gaoan in central Jiangxi province and had entered at least seven provinces in total, said the report, which was first broadcast Saturday.

Don’t thaw meat on melons: FDA warns Brooklyn wholesaler to clean up its act

Coral Beach of The Packer writes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has Brooklyn wholesaler New Yung Wah Trading Co. in its sights because of unresolved food safety issues that include rodents nesting in a box of thawing meat that was stored on top of fresh melons.

melon.berriesOn Dec. 23 the FDA posted its Dec. 9 warning letter to co-owner Juan Qing Lin. FDA officials cited numerous instances of live and dead rodents, birds flying through the warehouse and landing on fresh produce and other food products during a two-week inspection of one of the company’s warehouses.

There were also plumbing problems, leaking roofs and clogged floor drains. The company had until Dec. 24 to reply to the warning letter.

USDA fires back on inspection protocols

Philip Derfler, deputy administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service writes in this letter to The New York Times that in “Making a Pig’s Ear of Food Safety” (Op-Ed, Dec. 13), Ted Genoways unfairly portrays a pilot food safety inspection program that is being run by the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, or F.S.I.S. In the pilot, federal inspectors are actually able to perform more food safety checks per shift than in more traditional inspection programs.

Chicago_meat_inspection_swift_co_1906Further, although Mr. Genoways cites problems that occurred during implementation of a new agency data collection system, no meat entered the market uninspected because of these problems. While the new system helps the agency analyze data, daily inspection does not rely on the system’s operation.

Mr. Genoways’s dire predictions about F.S.I.S.’s direction are without basis. The Government Accountability Office found in a recent report that F.S.I.S. is a “science-based, data-driven” organization.

Consumers can be assured that any changes to F.S.I.S.’s food safety system will be based on the best approaches to ensure food safety, as determined by relevant data and applicable science.

Thousands expected as 36-hour Sydney Fish Market seafood marathon begins

Sorenne and I will go shopping this morning because when I do, it’s last minute.

the-fishmongers-shopThe annual 36-hour orgy has begun at the Sydney Fish Market and we’ll be getting our own seafood first thing in Brisbane.

 “I think it’s the vibe during Christmas, the busyness, the rush, the excitement of it all. Everyone is in a good mood, it’s a good time of the year,” says seafood buyer Paul Papacosta, from Penrith Seafoods at Wetherill Park, and Sydney Fresh Seafoods at Manly and Potts Point.

“But quality becomes a bigger issue because there is so much volume going through, you have to keep your eyes on everything, you can’t let anything slip through.”

Dimitri Hari has been running around the Sydney Fish Market since he was two.

“My old man works in the industry, mum was in it, my aunties. I was thrown in and they couldn’t get me out. God knows they tried but I wouldn’t get out of the place,” says Hari who works for de Costi, one of the biggest players in the market.

“Seafood has definitely become a (Christmas) tradition. As each year goes by, Christmas tends to get bigger — a lot more prawns, a lot more oysters.“People like to indulge with lobsters, there is that. Even though people might be doing their traditional roast, there is definitely a big seafood influence there.

Not so much in the UK, where the Food Standards Agency cracked down on Ades Limited in London for handling and packaging dried fish products and whole frozen African land snails in an unapproved establishment (this establishment is different to the one mentioned on product labels), under unsatisfactory hygiene conditions with a lack of traceability. Its existing approval has been revoked because of these issues.

Despite investigations by the enforcement authorities, it has not been possible to obtain the full distribution details or product traceability records for these products.