Food safety cleanup

In honor of fall cleaning of smelly hockey gear – and what use is scaffolding if not to dry out hockey equipment – I offer this cleanup of smelly food safety news.

hockey.equip.drying.feb.15Lots of Asian countries, including China have banned Canadian beef after bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) showed up on the same farm as a case diagnosed in 2010. How effective is enforcement of that feed ban?

Men wash their hands less than women.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is going to speed up implementation of labeling of needle or mechanically tenderized beef to 2016. If Canada can do it in 2014, so can the U.S.

New Zealand is going to require child care centers to have a food safety plan when they serve meals to little kids, and get inspected once a year. Australia should do the same.

50 school cafeterias out of the 350 in Rhode Island racked up the most food safety violations. Who knew Rhode Island had 350 schools?

Fancy food ain’t safe food, Scotland edition, the Waldorf Astoria Caledonian in Edinburgh has failed basic hygiene inspections by food safety authorities. No details of why the hotels had failed food inspections.

The manager of a former railway station in Ireland that was converted to a restaurant told an food safety type it was really busy, and that’s why they violated 44 food hygiene and safety regulations. Guilty.

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UK hotel fined £20k for kitchen hygiene breaches

A landmark Swindon hotel has been ordered to pay more than £20,000 in fines and court costs after admitting a dozen breaches of hygiene regulations said to pose a significant risk to public health.

GW in Station RoadGreat Western Hotel (Swindon) Ltd, which owns The GW in Station Road, was hit with a £13,200 fine, as well as being ordered to pay £7,500 costs at Swindon Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Director Gavin McKelvie, 42, was ordered to pay £4,400 while the kitchen manager at the time, Mark Wylie, 30, was fined £2,200.

It follows an inspection by a Swindon Council environmental officer in March last year, which revealed numerous serious breaches.

Milk was found on top of raw chicken, while out of date sandwiches were found on the premises, ready for sale.

The inspector found a kitchen covered in food debris, a lack of hand soap and a failure to record temperature checks of food or equipment.

Before the inspecdtion the hotel had a three-star rating and there were no complaints by customers or reports of anyone becoming ill.

All of the defendants admitted the offences and Anna Mathias, defending all parties, said they accepted standards had been allowed to slip to an unacceptable level – but action had now been taken to rectify all the problems.

Rampant cross-contamination at Pho Saigon 8 in Vegas

Dirty Dining visits a place where health inspectors say the cook contaminated the food, and it’s all part of a 54-demerit closure.

pho_sai_3The 54 big ones went to Pho Saigon 8 on South Eastern. The Vietnamese restaurant was guilty of multiple handwashing violations.

One was so bad that inspectors say fresh, cut, ready to eat produce and cooked chicken were contaminated by the cook, who used gloves soiled by raw beef to handle additional ingredients.

There was also no handwashing between dirty and clean dishes, between cleaning waste out of a sink and handling cooked chicken, and after picking waste up off the floor.

When they did wash their hands, it was only for a few seconds in cold water.

Inspectors also found uncovered food stored on the floor including noodles and meat, and meat thawing at room temperature on a shelf under the grill.

When Contact 13 went to the restaurant to get their side of the story, an employee told us, “I have no idea because my boss not here yet. So I have no idea.”

That’s a violation of health code. There has to be a knowledgeable person in charge present at all times to monitor and ensure food safety and proper sanitation.

Pho Saigon 8 just got in trouble for that in mid-January because the person in charge then wasn’t a certified food safety manager and couldn’t answer basic questions from inspectors about cooling, labeling, storage or handwashing.

We asked the employee to call the boss, “My boss said sorry, we can’t let you in,” and said he didn’t want to comment.

Inspectors also found food from the previous day wasn’t cooled properly, including beef and meat soup, which had to be thrown in the garbage.

Chicken sitting out at room temperature also had to be tossed.

Public health risk at Canberra’s eateries

The nation’s capital could be more open.

Australian Capital Territory Health’s “name and shame” list reveals that nearly two dozen restaurants, cafes and fast food outlets in the ACT have been hit with fines totalling more than $230,000 for breaches of food safety standards since 2011

See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No EvilThe register only lists eateries found guilty of food offences, and because of investigative, administrative and appeal processes it can take between 18 and 24 months before the date of an offence and the conviction appear on the register. 

Inspections of restaurants, cafes and food stalls have risen in the past three years, increasing from 1994 in 2012 to 2334 last year. 

More than a dozen Canberra restaurants were forced to shut their doors last year because of an immediate public health risk or failing to fix food safety breaches, new figures reveal.

Cockroaches littering the floor, mouldy food stored in a cool room, a floor covered with thick, grey congealed food waste and power points caked in grime and grease: these are just some of the unpalatable images of appalling food standard breaches health inspectors have discovered in restaurant kitchens in Canberra.

ACT Health figures show 14 restaurants were closed last year after being slapped with prohibition orders because of an immediate public health risk or failure to comply with improvement notices. 

There were also 395 improvement notices issued last year, 32 more than 2013 and 101 more than in 2012. 

Improvement notices are issued for less serious breaches. They identify areas of non-compliance and give eatery owners a deadline to rectify the breaches. 

ACT Health said details of the restaurants and breaches were “not able to be provided.”

The ACT government is yet to decide on the details of a possible “scores on doors” food hygiene rating system for restaurants, such as whether it will be compulsory and when it will be introduced. 

We celebrated the year of the sheep – Chinese New Year – with some friends at their house last night after hockey. Yummy.

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Popular Calif. deli dealing with aftermath of Salmonella cases

As of Feb. 3, Brent’s Deli on Townsgate Road had a clean bill of health, having passed a Ventura County Environmental Health Department inspection with no violations noted.

brent's.deli.reuben“First and foremost, it is completely safe to dine at Brent’s Deli,” said restaurant owner Marc Hernandez in written correspondence to the Acorn.

But that wasn’t the case last summer, says Stephanie Wehr of Oxnard who ate lunch at Brent’s with her family on Aug. 2 and filed a lawsuit against the restaurant on Jan. 22.

Wehr al- leges Brent’s was negligent in the way it handled food and sanitation and, as a result, she got salmonella poisoning that put her in the hospital.

Wehr’s attorney, Trevor Quirk, said his client, who is a nurse practitioner at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center, is hoping for accountability and to raise awareness through the suit.

“It’s sad because it’s a local deli,” Quirk said. “We’re not here trying to hurt businesses, but they didn’t do the right thing and got caught with their hand in the cookie jar and said they weren’t trying to take cookies.”

Citing a state salmonella investigation and county environmental health department inspection reports from July that called attention to the issue, the suit claims “Brent’s . . . knew or should have known the premises . . . was contaminated with salmonella.”

Why I avoid buffets: Failed Georgia restaurant score due to temps

Laura Berrios of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes that during a recent routine health inspection at an Indian restaurant in Duluth, several cold food items on a buffet, and meats and gravy inside a cooler, were thrown away because of unsafe temperatures.

Moksha Kitchen, 3294 Peachtree Industrial Blvd., DuluthGoat, lamb and onion gravy were in the top section of a prep cooler and were not being maintained within the appropriate temperature range, according to the Gwinnett County health inspector.

Also, yogurt, pudding, cut melons and tamarind sauce on a self-serve buffet were all thrown away because the ice that was supposed to keep the items cold had melted. The temperatures were also too high, the inspector said.

Moksha Kitchen, 3294 Peachtree Industrial Blvd., Duluth, scored 64/U on the routine inspection. The fast-casual restaurant had previous scores of 80/B and 77/C.

Fargo is a great movie; Panda Express is not an exceptional guest experience

True Detective was a great TV series about human frailty, redemption, and proving that Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson can act.

fargo14Fargo was a great movie, and I’ve heard the TV series isn’t so bad, picking up some award thingies, so that’s next on the watching time, especially now that Jon Stewart is leaving us (we’re the same age, I feel that close).

But would you eat in Fargo? If a Panda Express proclaims exceptional guest experiences?

In the most recent Fargo Cass Public Health environmental inspection report, Panda Express along 45th Street South was slapped three critical violations. Chicken was not stored at the proper temperature, there were sanitizing equipment issues, and fooddebris was sitting at the bottom of a hand sink which could cause cross contamination.

Corporatewouldn’t let our cameras inside, but said they’re thankful to work with inspectors and corrected all necessary actions on the spot. Here’s their full statement:

“At Panda Express, the health and safety of our food and guests are our top priorities. In addition to third party food safety inspections, Panda welcomes our regular county health inspections as of our commitment to delivering exceptional guest experiences. We are grateful for the opportunity to work directly with our inspectors to take corrective actions when necessary, on the spot.”

People have cameras: Hot flatiron salad spot Sweetgreen shut down by NYC

It’s not quite an entire rodent, but the Flatiron outpost of super hot salad spot Sweetgreen has been shuttered by the Department of Health for evidence of live mice, among other things.

021014sweetgreenTipster Ryan Eugene Kelley sent photos from the restaurant this afternoon, where attempts to eat lunchtime leaves were thwarted by a big DOH sticker proclaiming the joint had been closed. “People would come up and read the sign, which was printed pretty small, and then be grossed out,” according to Kelley.

There’s no information readily available on the DOH’s inspection site, which lists the eatery’s most recent inspection on January 20th, where it racked up 40 violations points. Citations included “evidence of mice or live mice present” and “filth flies” somewhere on the premises, either in the food service area or somewhere else. We’ve reached out to the DOH for a status on the restaurant’s inspection and we’ll update when we hear back.

It’s a cyclical thing: More awareness, more food safety reporting in Ireland

A razor blade in minced meat is among the items alleged to have been found in food products in 2014, according to the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.

2,783 complaints were received about food safety, while the number of calls to the FSAI was up 8%, compared to 2013.

Bike-logo-570x420The FSAI said the increase reflected, in part, a growing awareness among consumers of the need to report poor hygiene practice.

Consumer complaints included reports of food unfit to eat, suspected food poisoning, poor hygiene standards and incorrect information labelling.

Reports included allegations of food contaminated with glass and dead maggots, as well as other foreign objects including a cigarette found in a fruit brack; wire in takeaway food and a metal bolt found in a tin of grapefruit.  

All complaints received by the FSAI were followed up and investigated by the HSE’s environmental health officers.

The FSAI said the increased activity reflected a demand among food businesses for information about labelling requirements and resources for food business start-ups, as well as a growing awareness among consumers of the need to report poor hygiene practice.

All complaints received by the FSAI were followed up and investigated by the HSE’s environmental health officers throughout the country.

Name and shame, Irish style

Nine Irish restaurants and take-aways were closed due to food safety breaches in January.

ireland.pubAn Eddie Rockets diner and a Spar store were among two of the businesses told to close their doors last month by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.

While revealing the closure orders, Professor Alan Reilly, Chief Executive of FSAI warned standards cannot slip to a level that consumer health is put at risk.

He said: ” It is not acceptable for any food business to potentially put their customers’ health at risk. Every food business should be striving to meet the high food safety and hygiene standards that the majority of food businesses achieve on a daily basis.

“We’re urging food businesses to make sure that they have a food safety management system in place and that it is consulted on a regular basis and updated, where necessary, to ensure non-compliance issues and breaches of food safety legislation don’t occur.”