Fairytale #4: ‘No one has ever gotten sick here before’ 42 stricken with noro at wedding in Jersey

Press of Atlantic City reports the Cape May County and state health departments are investigating reports of an illness that affected dozens of people who attended a wedding at the Flanders Hotel last month.

fairy_puke_rainbow_by_lu_tih-d6mpm8qKevin Thomas, public health coordinator for the county, said Monday that 42 of 150 guests were confirmed to have fallen ill a day or two after the April 30 wedding.

“No one has ever gotten sick here before,” said Karen Bergman, catering director for the Flanders. “We’re very careful. We play by the rules. We take pride in what we do.”

Food poisoning and norovirus are the likeliest reasons for the outbreak, Thomas said, although it is possible no definitive cause will be identified.

“We find no fault with the Flanders,” said Lois Marcasciano, mother of the bride. “It was a flukey thing that people got sick. I would go back there again. I would have another wedding there.”

Hep A outbreak leads to restaurant disclosure in NJ

Hamilton unveiled a searchable website Monday that lists inspection ratings for the township’s 500 restaurants and retail food shops in hopes of giving diners a greater peace of mind.

sopranos.food“This new website will not only provide our local restaurants patrons with added transparency to enhance consumer confidence, but will also encourage food establishments to hold themselves accountable to the highest health standards, knowing that this information will be easily accessible by the public,” Mayor Kelly Yaede said.

The website was prompted, in part, by the Hepatitis A health scare that hit the township in late 2014. In late November, a food handler at Rosa’s Restaurant and Catering fell ill with the disease and in the months following, three people who ate at the restaurant contracted the disease.

Inspection reports later revealed the restaurant had a history of health violations.

Last month, Rosa’s quietly announced that it was closing its doors, but would continue the catering portion of the business.

Yaede said all retail food establishments are inspected annually and receive ratings of “satisfactory,” “continually satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory.” The new database shows the three most recent inspection results.

Users may search the new site, hamiltonnj.com/foodsafety, by establishment name or address.

30 sick with Campy at private school in New Jersey

The Warren County Health Department has confirmed the presence of several Campylobacter infections at Blair Academy, a private high school in Blairstown, where about 80 per cent of its 460 students board at the school.

blair.academy.njPeter Summers, Warren County health officer, said that “a few” of the tests that were sent out to labs came back positive for campylobacter after approximately 30 people had reported becoming ill since mid-November.

Officials at Blair Academy could not be reached for comment, but Summers said he believed parents of students were notified of the infection within the last week or so.

Jersey officials plan database of restaurant health inspection reports, higher fines for violations

Link

Spurred on by the outbreak of Hepatitis A linked to a food server at Rosa’s Restaurant and Catering, Hamilton Township in New Jersey is taking steps to ensure that every consumer knows just how safe — or unsafe — food establishments are, with an online database of food inspection reports scheduled to go live within the next few months.

jon.stewart.handwashing.2002“Accountability is everything,” township health officer Jeff Plunkett said on Friday. He said a new ordinance is also being drafted to increase fines for health code violations.

The new database will allow customers to simply search for the name of a restaurant to view its health inspection reports, Mayor Kelly Yaede said Friday.

“This is an initiative we’ve been working on for a year,” Yaede said, attributing the concept to one proposed by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee at the 2014 U.S. Conference of Mayors.

“The number one goal of our health office is to maintain the public safety of our residents,” Yaede said. “This tool makes these restaurant inspection reports more readily available to individuals when they’re making a choice of whether they’re going to patronize a restaurant.”

It isn’t clear whether a restaurant’s entire history or recent history of inspection reports will be available, Yaede said.

“As much information as we have that’s accessible will be released to the public,” Yaede said.

The software will hopefully provide an incentive for restaurants to maintain clean bills of health: It could provide a sales boost for the cleanliest establishments and motivation for less cleanly restaurants to fix problems, Yaede said.

“It would be a positive tool for a majority of restaurants in Hamilton to help them promote their business,” Yaede said.

“And if you don’t have a good report? There’s more of a bite in it for enforcement,” Plunkett said.

Two additional cases of hepatitis A linked to Rosa’s Restaurant and Catering in Hamilton, NJ.

A big problem with hepatitis A is that a food handler can shed the virus for a month without showing symptoms – and an infected customer may not show symptoms for a few weeks either. An incident that looks like it is over can linger. According to Hamilton New Jersey health officials, the virus has spread from a food handler at Rosa’s Restaurant and Catering to a salon employee.

Here comes another round of IgG shots.gech_0001_0002_0_img0129

Hamilton officials confirmed two more cases of hepatitis A in the township a month after a food handler at Rosa’s Restaurant and Catering first contracted the virus.

Health officials were notified late Wednesday night by Robert Wood Johnson Hospital Hamilton and the state Department of Health that an employee of The Hair Port Salon on South Broad Street was diagnosed with hepatitis A. The employee has been released from the hospital and is recovering at home, officials said.

Staff and customers who visited the salon between Dec. 4 and Wednesday may be at risk of contracting the virus and should be vaccinated if they have not already done so, officials said.

In the second case, hepatitis A was confirmed Thursday in a fitness instructor at the Hamilton Area YMCA’s JKR branch on Whitehorse-Mercerville Road, officials said.

Officials confirmed that both individuals had eaten at or from Rosa’s during the first case, but could not say with certainty whether the two additional cases were a direct result. Just last week, township health officer Jeff Plunkett said the incubation period was set to end Jan. 11 and no new cases had emerged at the time.

Watch and learn Maine: NJ health officials release info about hepatitis A exposure

A food handler from a New Jersey restaurant is in hospital recovering from hepatitis A. According to nj.com, the individual worked in the back of the house of Rosa’s Restaurant and Catering in Hamilton, NJ.

Health officials warned that anyone who ate at or catered from the restaurant between Nov. 10 and Monday may be at risk for developing Hepatitis A if they have not been previously vaccinated. The township received notification from the state Department of Health Monday. Township health officer Jeff Plunkett said the employee, who worked in food preparation, has been in the hospital since last Tuesday.Unknown-17-1

“It is contagious through the oral route when you ingest food so it’s a possibility that … you could contract the virus if he was handling your food at the time,” Plunkett said.

Unvaccinated individuals who ate there should receive an injection of immune globulin or Hepatitis A vaccine. Both can prevent an infection if given within 14 days of exposure.

This information is much more useful than what health folks in Maine said a couple of weeks ago.

I see in your NJ future, vermin in your fortune cookies

The ubiquitous fortune cookie, a staple of any Chinese takeout, could be a cesspool of dirt, disease and disgustingness.

But it’s New Jersey.

cookie-8According to Daily Finance, when inspectors from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration visited the fortune cookie manufacturing plant in Atlanta owned by the Well Luck Co., a New Jersey company that distributes Asian food nationwide, they made some horrific discoveries. During the two-week inspection this summer, which resulted in a warning letter being issued, FDA inspectors found live and dead mice, rats and “roach-like insects.”

The FDA reported that the facility was not taking basic precautions to prevent pests, and was failing to follow many food hygiene guidelines. The FDA noted in its Sept. 17 letter that the manufacturer had not responded to requests to address the alleged violations and warned, “You should take prompt actions to correct the violations cited in this letter. Failure to promptly and adequately correct these violations may result in FDA initiation of regulatory actions, including but not limited to, seizure of your products or injunction.”

“Unpackaged fortune cookies were observed sitting directly on the floor of the fortune cookie packaging room,” the FDA letter said. “Without any barrier between the warehouse and the fortune cookie packaging room, rodents in the warehouse area have direct access into the food processing areas of the facility where they may contaminate the food, food packaging materials and food processing equipment.”

In its warning letter, the FDA said it had discovered bags of flour that had been ripped open by rodents and that both rodent feces and urine were found in the food manufacturing facility. Food and food products were on floors all around the plant, the FDA said.

“The violations, which include evidence of active rodent activity, render the products held at your facility adulterated … in that they have been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have become contaminated with filth, or whereby they may have been rendered injurious to health,” the letter to Well Luck CEO Chris T. Li said.
Well Luck officials did not immediately respond to a request to comment on the FDA inspection and letter.

Reason to use different colored bottles: 28 children accidentally drink bleach at N.J. day care

Twenty-eight children and two adults accidentally drank bleach at a day care center in Jersey City on Thursday, according to officials.

the_first_bleach_bottle_by_thebleachbottle-d5h2xeyThe children, aged 3 and 4, were evaluated and taken from the day care center, Growing Tree II, to Jersey City Medical Center-Barnabas Health. The children were in stable condition and expected to be released to their parents, officials said.

“We don’t think the amount they ingested is significant,” said hospital spokesman Mark Rabson.

Hospital officials were not clear how or why bleach was ingested by the children and staff.

Dr. Steven M. Marcus, the executive director of New Jersey Poison Information and Education System, said such accidents are fairly common. Hotels, restaurants and other food service outlets are required to regularly sanitize certain areas, and often use bleach and water as the solution. Despite warnings by the poison center against it, workers will often put the solution in a container — such as a brand-name water bottle or gallon jug — that can be mistaken for water.

Restaurants in Jersey city went years without inspections

Probably sit down jobs.

Food safety is serious business, which is why New Jersey, like other states, regulates retail food handling and mandates annual inspections of restaurants, cafeterias and stores that serve meals or sale prepackaged foods.

sit.down.job.sopranoBut in this Union County city, the status of restaurant inspections might be hard for some diners to stomach. City officials say they are taking action.

For the past several years, just a fraction of the city’s eateries have been visited annually by an inspector. In many cases, restaurants and grocery stores have gone years without being inspected, a Courier News and Home News Tribune investigation found. The ignored businesses include restaurants that handle so-called “potentially hazardous foods,” such as fish and poultry, which can harbor toxic microorganisms if not stored or prepared properly.

The list of ignored sites includes school cafeterias, soup kitchens and a nursing home.

In one case, the newspapers found a fried chicken restaurant — Crown Fried Chicken on West Front Street — that was last inspected in 2009.

The newspapers also found that many records for 2012 were missing or did not exist without explanation.

Sometimes there was no record of a required follow-up visit of a restaurant that failed to pass an initial inspection because of gross or potentially unsafe conditions. For example, an inspection in 2012 of Royal Fried Chicken reported that the bathrooms “had poor general cleanliness” and what the inspector believed looked like pigeon feces on the kitchen floor (an employee explained to the inspector that it was dried chicken seasoning).

A 2011 inspection of the Twin City Supermarket found that a walk-in fridge was rusty and moldy and raw and bloody meats were stored on a shelf above a shelf of vegetables. A cook was seen using his bare hands to mix a bowl of beans and cheese. A fly trap was located above fruit platters. And human feces was smeared all over a toilet and floor of the men’s restroom, which the inspector said was immediately cleaned.

The lack of inspections was one reason the city in May hired a fulltime health officer for the first time in years. The hiring was a rare example of accord between Mayor Adrian Mapp’s administration and the City Council, which often are at odds.

Jersey-style raw milk cheese BS

What is it with New Jersey?

I’ve got Sopranos on in the background, a Jersey colleague telling me how great The Clash are (they aren’t) and then I get an e-mail from another colleague who snapped this photo at a Jersey retailer.

As the correspondent noted, the sign states as a matter of fact rather than opinion that raw milk cheese tastes better, but alleges that pasteurization does not make cheese safer, kills bacteria that may not be there, and destroys vitamins A and D. Pasteurization was and continues to be a huge benefit to the public health. Vitamin destruction is minimal. Bacterial destruction is real and is necessary, even if some good ones go with the bad. … at the very least you should advise pregnant women, small children, old people, and the immunocompromised to avoid unpasteurized products.

Jersey is the train-wreck that is compelling to watch. Not Snooki.