Our resident non-aging television personality and food safety dude, Rob Mancini, who did a MSc with me all those years ago, writes that food safety professionals have been using a number of different mediums to get the word out on food safety.
One such medium are blogs, like the one you are reading now, using current press releases to disseminate information to the masses. Others use eclectic marketing campaigns, some which are validated others not, radio, Internet, and TV.
While I am a proponent in using media to get information out in a rapid, relevant manner, TV reality shows can be misleading and often times food safety takes a back seat to sensation.
TV reality shows are a fine balance between science and fiction….. it’s about the ratings and trying to get a second season. Prior to embarking on my journey with Kitchen Crimes back in 2005, I was bombarded with emails from my colleagues not to sensationalize the facts and use weird gadgets to uncover dirt, grime, or whatever was lurking in the kitchen. Except hat doesn’t get ratings, sometimes we have to sensationalize and grasp peoples’ attention.
But it has to be done right. At least it gets people talking and thinking about food safety.
I watched from the diner counter as my server bare handedly took bread from the storage drawer, toasted it, cut it, and put it on a plate. The manager who had been answering phones and rubbing his face while adjusting his glasses also made toast and wiped his hands on a kitchen towel that then disappeared to wipe something else down.
No imagination needed to see how something like E. coli or Norovirus could be spread as I watched each bit of contact affect all the bread, knives and surfaces.
Am I neurotic? I tried not to have a stomachache.
I just want toast.
Rebecca Fischer (email@example.com) says she’s in the middle of a career change, following my passion for food by studying nutrition. Food handling has become a fascination, another excuse for people-watching, to see how experience and education affect awareness in kitchen behavior.
And I may be on hiatus but I’m a sucker for helping students who want to learn and kids –little or big — who want to play hockey.
France’s Contrôle Sanitaire writes the publication of the results of health checks in the food sector (restaurants, canteens, slaughterhouses, etc.) is a legitimate expectation of citizens that contributes to the improvement of consumer confidence. Foreseen in the Future for Agriculture, Food and Forest Act of 13 October 2014, this measure is part of a move towards greater transparency of State action.
To which a Brit tweeted @foodgov have been doing this for years, France is now copying the successful “Food Hygiene Rating” scheme.
Oh fuck it.
This is a good point to pause.
Restaurant inspection disclosure goes back to 1924, at which time letter grades were introduced to classify milk in the United States.
Toronto has been doing it since 2000.
So for a Brit to brag to a French about stuff that happened decades ago seems a bit silly, and time for barfblog.com to take a pause.
We don’t want to become recall.net and most of you 100K+ subscribers can figure out how to aggregate news on your own.
Chapman and I started barfblog on a plane trip to Prince George, B.C, where Chapman thought he would be eaten by bears and we saw advertisements for a college student jello thing, but decided we were too old to go.
We went to Vancouver to see our hockey goon friend Kevin Allen, and then to Seattle to see Marler.
Eventually we made our way to Manhattan, Kansas, where I was running away from an ex-wife, a stalking girlfriend and a whole lot of history.
I met a girl and Kansas State University hired me.
This is all the messy stuff in how science gets done but not really reported.
After 45 years of working continuously – I started as a golf caddy at nine-years-old, and the movie Caddyshack is historically accurate — I’m going to give it a break
No retirement, no pension, just want to see what else is out there, and see what other ideas I can come up with for others to claim as their own.
Filion, K. and Powell, D.A. 2009. The use of restaurant inspection disclosure systems as a means of communicating food safety information. Journal of Foodservice 20: 287-297.
The World Health Organization estimates that up to 30% of individuals in developed countries become ill from food or water each year. Up to 70% of these illnesses are estimated to be linked to food prepared at foodservice establishments. Consumer confidence in the safety of food prepared in restaurants is fragile, varying significantly from year to year, with many consumers attributing foodborne illness to foodservice. One of the key drivers of restaurant choice is consumer perception of the hygiene of a restaurant. Restaurant hygiene information is something consumers desire, and when available, may use to make dining decisions.
The World Health Organization estimates that up to 30% of individuals in developed countries become ill from contaminated food or water each year, and up to 70% of these illnesses are estimated to be linked to food service facilities. The aim of restaurant inspections is to reduce foodborne outbreaks and enhance consumer confidence in food service. Inspection disclosure systems have been developed as tools for consumers and incentives for food service operators. Disclosure systems are common in developed countries but are inconsistently used, possibly because previous research has not determined the best format for disclosing inspection results. This study was conducted to develop a consistent, compelling, and trusted inspection disclosure system for New Zealand. Existing international and national disclosure systems were evaluated. Two cards, a letter grade (A, B, C, or F) and a gauge (speedometer style), were designed to represent a restaurant’s inspection result and were provided to 371 premises in six districts for 3 months. Operators (n = 269) and consumers (n = 991) were interviewed to determine which card design best communicated inspection results. Less than half of the consumers noticed cards before entering the premises; these data indicated that the letter attracted more initial attention (78%) than the gauge (45%). Fifty-eight percent (38) of the operators with the gauge preferred the letter; and 79% (47) of the operators with letter preferred the letter. Eighty-eight percent (133) of the consumers in gauge districts preferred the letter, and 72% (161) of those in letter districts preferring the letter. Based on these data, the letter method was recommended for a national disclosure system for New Zealand.
The Bangkok Post reports China, rocked in recent years by a series of food safety scandals, uncovered as many as half a million illegal food safety violations in the first three quarters of the year, an official has told lawmakers.
Chinese officials have unearthed a series of recent scandals, including rice contaminated with heavy metals, the use of recycled “gutter oil” in restaurants, as well as the sale of baby formula containing lethal amounts of the industrial chemical melamine in 2008.
Bi Jingquan, the head of the China Food and Drug Administration, told the Standing Committee of National People’s Congress on Friday that while significant progress had been made in the food sector, “deep-seated” problems remained.
The New Mexico Environment Department says the diner — until recently called the Bad Ass Sandwich Shop but now called the Kick Ass Sandwich Shop because of a legal dispute, see the NSFV video below – will be served with a notice of violation for not having a catering permit.
Paul Rhien, a spokesman for the Health Department, said Friday that epidemiology tests confirmed the contamination came from the restaurant’s food.
Shannon Quintana of Kick Ass Sandwich Shop couldn’t be reached for comment Friday. He told the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper that he didn’t cater the Dec. 14 lunch and that the Health Department had ordered food from Kick Ass to be served alongside other dishes brought by employees.
The Health Department’s holiday lunch, which was held in the department’s offices at the Runnels Building – where employees headquartered there are the same ones who investigate disease outbreaks around the state – resulted in “reports of a number of employees becoming ill with mild gastrointestinal illness,” according to a message sent to employees Monday by Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher.
More than 200 department workers are estimated to have attended and about 71 reported gastrointestinal symptoms that developed within 24 to 48 hours.
Rhien said Friday that the Department of Health was not aware the sandwich shop didn’t have a catering permit. “If a restaurant doesn’t have the appropriate permit, we would expect them to refuse our request to cater an event — just as anyone would expect,” he said in an e-mail.
“The lab results from our epidemiological investigation confirmed that Clostridium perfringens bacteria were the source of the outbreak.”
The holiday lunch was paid for with worker contributions to an employee events committee, not by taxpayers, Rhien said.
Lab tests confirmed 69 people were sickened during the outbreak, with another 37 probable cases. Of the sick people, 22 had symptoms so severe that they required hospitalization. Illness onset dates ranged from June 3 to July 23.
Cilantro is the suspected source of the E. coli based on percentages of sick people who ate menu items made with the fresh produce item. Inspectors collected 12 food items, including cilantro, but none of the food returned positive results for E. coli bacteria. The cilantro was sourced from Illinois and Mexico, according to traceback information provided to the health department.
“Lettuce was associated with illness in both multivariable models but was consumed by only 44 percent of cases,” according to the health department report.
“In comparison, cilantro was consumed by 87 percent of cases, and either cilantro or salsa fresca (which included cilantro) were consumed by 95 percent of cases.”
The report references “several critical violations” observed during a July 1 inspection, such as improper temperatures for several food items including red and green salsas, tequila lime sauce, raw fish, guacamole and cheese. Inspectors also noted improper hand hygiene practices among food handlers.
I prefer to shop at Coles, but there is a few things I get from Woolies, especially since it’s on the way to and from school. She has a preference for tiger bread (I know it’s just white bread with stripes, but it’s on her way to swimming which is a decent bike ride, followed by an hour of laps, so for an 8-year-old, I’m not concerned about the empty calories.
The conviction will result in a fine of $95,000 and costs of $7000 to Woolworths, which the City of Wanneroo began inspecting in October 2015 after a member of the public complained about their Woolworths brand Crusty Tiger Loaf, which was found to be ‘unsuitable for sale.’
“The inspection found that Woolworths were not in compliance with a number of food standard codes,” planning and sustainability director Mark Dickson said.
Woolworths was found to have failed to ensure its food handlers were skilled in food safety and food hygiene. It also failed to store food to protect it from contamination, failed to keep the store and its equipment clean and failed to “process only safe and suitable food”.
Evidence of pests was also found.
Woolworths pleaded guilty to all charges.
“The City’s follow-up inspections found that the issues were rectified,” Mr Dickson said.
Aidan Gardiner of DNA Info reports three restaurateurs were arrested this week for bribing city monitors to not penalize them for violations including flies, handling food without gloves and keeping a lizard in a fish tank, officials said.
Morie Kabba of The Bronx was arrested Monday while Jonathan Niranjan and Mohammad Safi, who run establishments in Queens, were arrested Tuesday, according to Department of Investigation officials. They all face bribery charges and up to seven years behind bars, officials said.
“DOI’s investigation found these defendants were as dirty as their restaurants,” said Mark Peters, the DOI commissioner.
“In New York City, you can’t clean up a dirty restaurant with a bribe. DOI will continue to pursue unscrupulous business owners and operators who try to corrupt city employees for their own interests,” Peters said.
In each investigation, the men first bribed inspectors with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene who refused the money, but reported it to DOI which then sent undercover officers to each restaurant.
The undercover inspectors, spotted uncovered garbage cans, multiple flies and food residue on the floor of Jagana Family Kennedy Fried Chicken at 1375 Boston Road in Morrisania in October and reported it to Kabba, 42, officials said.
Kabba in turn gave the investigator $160, officials said.
Kabba was arraigned Monday and pleaded not guilty, officials said. He was released and due back in court on Jan. 17, 2017, officials said.
Similarly, a health inspector spotted an aquarium with a lizard inside Amazura, a music venue at 91-12 144th Place in Jamaica, and told Niranjan, 28, he’d have to remove it, officials said. Niranjan then told the inspector he forgot something in the bathroom, prompting the inspector to return inside and find “a wad of cash” on top of the sink, officials said.
An undercover inspector then visited the establishment in August and spotted a broken sink faucet, many flies and food handlers not using gloves, officials said. Niranjan then gave the undercover $300 in cash to “save him on some of the violations,” officials said.
Undercover investigators in May also spotted uncovered garbage cans, a broken sink faucet and staff touching food with bare hands inside Farm Fried N Curry Chicken at 120-20 Merrick Blvd. in South Jamaica, officials said.
Andrew Oxford of The New Mexican reports that epidemiologists at the state Department of Health are investigating their agency’s own annual holiday luncheon after dozens of employees reported falling ill after the party last week.
About 70 staff members claim to have experienced gastrointestinal issues following the catered event at the Harold Runnels Building attended by more than 200 employees, according to a spokesman.
Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher wrote in an email to staff Monday that investigators have not identified a specific food from the party that may have caused the outbreak.
A team from the department’s Epidemiology and Response Division “believes that there may have been cross-contamination of menu items served during the luncheon,” she wrote.
Epidemiologists were still waiting for laboratory test results as of Monday, but Gallagher told staff the outbreak appears to have been caused by Bacillus cereus or Clostridium perfringens, toxins that can cause foodborne illness.
“We will work to take appropriate steps to address food handling procedures with the caterer and prevent such problems in the future,” wrote, Gallagher.
Spokesman Paul Rhien said the event was catered by a local business, but he did not specify which one when asked by a reporter to identify the company.