Vaccinate: Hawaii Baskin-Robbins workers harassed, business crippled over Hepatitis A

Marisa Yamane of KHON2 reports the Baskin-Robbins at Waikele Center used to be the busiest in the state.

Now, it’s the emptiest.

baskin.robbins“That’s why we only have one person working now, because it’s really that slow,” Baskin-Robbins employee Erika Espiritu said.

On July 12, the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) announced that anyone who ate at Baskin-Robbins at Waikele Center between June 17 and July 3, 2016 (actual dates: June 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 25, 27, 30, and July 1 and 3), may have been exposed to hepatitis A.

That’s because one of the workers there caught the virus.

Since then, business has dropped 75 percent.

“The toughest part is having to take in all the harassment because I worked the — I might tear up — I worked the next morning and people would call and say mean stuff, and you just have to take it in, because you can’t control what people think,” Espiritu said.

She said people have told them they want to sue the store, or that they want the store to pay for their family to get vaccinated.

In fact, state epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park said the store is “not at fault. They should not be looked down upon. This could happen to any food establishment out there.”

“We don’t deserve to be harassed or slandered because it’s not fair. We didn’t ask for our employee to have the infection, you know,” Espiritu said.

About time: Pittsburgh unveils updated restaurant inspection stickers

The Allegheny County Health Department is making it easier for restaurant patrons to get a glimpse of what’s going on in the kitchen before deciding where to eat.

stickers0719-restaurant-inspected-bizOn Monday, the county unveiled new inspection stickers for restaurant doors that include QR codes — two-dimensional bar codes — so that people with smartphones can scan the codes and get instant access to a restaurant’s inspection reports. 

The decals — which include green stickers for “Inspected and Permitted” facilities; yellow “Consumer Alert” stickers for when conditions may pose a health risk; and red “Closed” stickers for facilities shut down for serious health code violations until fixes are made — also have been redesigned in an easier-to-read format.

“The updated placards will provide county residents with a clear and easy-to-read status of the facilities they’re considering when making dining choices, while also providing easy access to the reports,” health department director Karen Hacker said in a statement.

Restaurant inspection reports have been available for residents to view online using a search engine on the health department’s website since 2007. The QR codes will provide a direct link to the search page.

stickers0719-restaurant-consumer-alertstickers-0719-closed-resaturant-biz

Singapore rocked by 5 separate outbreaks at eateries

Clara Chong of The Straits Times writes that good food can be passed off as food worth eating – only if it is safe to consume.

TTdurianpuff-goodwoodThe current case involves Pow Sing restaurant, which, as of July 12, had 29 verified cases of gastroenteritis and investigations are currently ongoing.

This is just the latest case of a food establishment being suspended after outbreaks of food poisoning among its diners.

Here is a look at the five most recent cases.

  1. Pow Sing Restaurant

Pow Sing restaurant and its sister eatery Pow Sing Kitchen at Serangoon Gardens had their licences suspended indefinitely on July 13 after the authorities became aware of at least 29 cases of gastroenteritis, otherwise known as gastric flu, that were linked to the eatery.

An inspection on July 5 threw up several food lapses, such as the failure to maintain temperature records and allowing an unregistered food handler to prepare food.

Pow Sing, which sells zi char or cooked food in addition to chicken rice, has been told to dispose of all food and completely sanitise the kitchen.

  1. Pek Kio Food Centre

With more than 180 cases of gastroenteritis reported, Pek Kio Market and Food Centre in Owen Road area had to be closed on May 25 for a thorough cleaning and disinfection, including disinfection of dining tables, chairs, food preparation surfaces, walls and floors, for two days.

  1. Kuisine Catering

Poor hygiene standards at Kuisine Catering are a likely cause of a mass food-poisoning incident last February, resulting in 231 people falling ill, with five of those affected requiring in-patient medical treatment.

Investigations by the National Environment Agency (NEA), Ministry of Health and Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority concluded that food poisoning was likely due to Salmonella enteritidis.

  1. Goodwood Durian Pastries

Goodwood Park Hotel’s food establishment licence was suspended on April 22 after 76 cases of food poisoning were linked to its durian pastries.

singapore-food2But on May 3, it was revealed that up 183 cases may be linked to the hotel’s hugely popular durian pastries.

Further investigations revealed that lapses in food handling in the durian pastry kitchen were to blame. All food handlers had to undergo medical screening and retraining on safe food handling practices

  1. GBS infection from raw fish dishes

In December 2015, stalls were no longer allowed to sell Chinese-style raw fish dishes such as raw fish porridge due to its link with an aggressive strain of Group B Streptococcus (GBS) bacteria.

The outbreak, caused by the Type III GBS ST283 strain, is the largest of its kind in the world, with about 360 cases of GBS infections since January 2015 and about 150 cases linked to the consumption of Chinese-style raw fish dishes that use freshwater fish.

This ban extended to hawker centres, coffee shops, canteens, food courts and caterers but left out restaurants, which generally observed hygiene standards.

The ban on using such freshwater fish remains in force until further notice.

Handwashing rarely observed by Yellowknife restaurant inspectors

Seems like Larry has taken up the throne of food safety dude in Canada.

see.no.evil.monkeysI remember the days when I taught Larry and Kevin Allen – who’s been sidelined by a concussion but is still a hockey goon at heart – the basics of risk analysis at the University of Guelph.

I have other NSFV Larry stories, but will leave those for another day.

Priscilla Hwang of CBC News reports Yellowknife’s restaurant inspectors have been checking off the “not-observed” box on their inspection sheets, indicating they’re not seeing handwashing in over a quarter of all city restaurants and food-handling locations.

That means workers in one in four food locations in Yellowknife are not checked by inspectors to see if they’re complying with one of the critical inspection items — “hands clean and properly washed,” according to a CBC News analysis of the territory’s most recent restaurant inspection data.

“It seems like not only are those critical things not followed by the restaurant, but the inspectors themselves are not necessarily looking for them or spending long enough time to observe them,” says Lawrence Goodridge, a food safety professor at McGill University.

“And in my opinion, handwashing is probably the most important part of food safety.”

Goodridge says workers generally need to wash their hands frequently, especially after touching something that may contaminate them, or after using the washrooms.

He cites one U.S. study that suggests restaurant employees should wash their hands 29 times per hour. “So, you tell me,” he chuckles.  

Goodridge admits the critical things, like handwashing, are more difficult to observe and “are the ones that tend to be missed.” But he says that handwashing is right at the top of the critical list.

“They should stay long enough to see all the critical points in the inspection are being met, at the least,” says Goodridge.

More than a quarter of the city’s restaurants also received “not observed” status for proper sanitizing and storing of cloths used for wiping tables and dirty dishes, a non-critical item on the list.

 

65 sick with E. coli from Chicago restaurant

Becky Yerak of the Chicago Tribune reports that an outbreak of E. coli at Carbon Live Fire Mexican Grill has grown to include 65 people who have become ill, more than double the number initially reported by the Chicago Department of Public Health.

carbon.live.chicagoA second lawsuit was filed Monday in Cook County Circuit Court against the restaurant, which has locations in Bridgeport and on the North Side. The North Side restaurant has been found by city health inspectors to be “safe” and “clean.” The two locations share a phone number, and a person answering the phone Thursday morning said the North Side spot is open, and the Bridgeport restaurant remains closed for now.

At least 29 sick: Singapore restaurant suspended for links to outbreak

The Ministry of Health (MOH), National Environment Agency (NEA), and Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) are investigating several cases Pow Sing Restaurantof gastroenteritis reported between 4 and 11 July 2016, traced to the consumption of food prepared at Pow Sing Restaurant, located at 63-65 Serangoon Garden Way. As of 12 July 2016, a total of 29 cases were verified to be affected, and further investigations are ongoing.

Laboratory tests are ongoing.

MOH has collected stool samples from the affected cases and the restaurant’s food handlers have been sent for stool screening. Only food handlers who are tested to be free of food poisoning pathogens, and have re-attended and passed the Basic Food Hygiene Course will be allowed to resume work. MOH and NEA will continue to monitor the situation.

2 sick with Salmonella linked to Seattle pub

King County health officials are investigating an outbreak of Salmonella linked to the Fadó Irish Pub & Restaurant in downtown Seattle.

fado-seattleTwo people in separate parties became sick after eating bacon cheeseburgers at the restaurant on June 16th.

Laboratory tests showed the two were infected with the same Salmonella bacteria.

Public Health workers inspected the restaurant last week and found several violations that may have caused the outbreak including: inadequate equipment cleaning and handwashing and poor handwashing facilities. The restaurant has since corrected those violations.

 

How do you clean your knives?

Improperly cleaned and sanitized chef knives present a potential contamination risk and a source for foodborne illness.

How-to-clean-a-kitchen-knife-300x200This study compared the efficacies of two cleaning methods (three-compartment manual dishwashing and sanitizer wiping) at removing food soils from contaminated chef knives.

Knife-washing procedures were standardized after observing knife-cleaning behavior in a kitchen. Adenosine triphosphate bioluminescence was used to measure levels of organic soils. Results indicated that the three-compartment manual dishwashing was more effective at removing food soils from knife surfaces than the sanitizer wiping (P < .0001). This study also assessed the influence of other factors on the soil removal efficacies.

A comparison of the efficacy of chef knife-cleaning methods

Journal of Foodservice Business Research; Published online: 29 Jun 2016; DOI:10.1080/15378020.2016.1198611

Xiaodi Suna, Carl Behnkea, Barbara Almanzaa & Douglas Nelsona

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15378020.2016.1198611

Jason Bourne novelist tanks Chipotle stock with one tweet

Despite Chipotle Mexican Grill’s attempt to move on from a string of high-profile foodborne illness outbreaks, the company’s stock moves Thursday show how fragile its reputation is at the moment.

chipotle.tweets.jul.16The stock dipped as much as 3.4 percent in early morning trading following a tweet from Jason Bourne author Eric Van Lustbader that said his editor had been hospitalized after eating at a Chipotle in Manhattan.

We are aware of the post made on Twitter, however there have been no reports of illnesses at any of our New York restaurants,” Chris Arnold, a spokesman for Chipotle, told CNBC. “Moreover, we have excellent health department scores throughout the city, and we continue to have the highest standards of food safety in our restaurants.”

Chipotle seems to be suffering some Jason Bourne-like amnesia.

jason.bourneAfter Chipotle released the statement, shares began to reverse themselves and were recently trading down $7.88, or 1.9 percent, at $392.44.

“Every time that something like that comes out, yes, it will affect the stock because it potentially impacts … the recovery [in the] near term,” Nick Setyan, a Wedbush analyst, told CNBC. “There is such a lack of visibility right now that every little thing is going to change that variable.”

The illness Van Lustbader reported is unconfirmed at this time, however, other Twitter users have taken to the social media platform to share their experiences with New York Chipotle restaurants.

I’m going to serve food. Should I be pre-inspected? Finland says go back to yes

Finnish food control authorities waived pre-inspections of food premises in 2011, leaving food business operators to begin operating with no pre-operation food control. This study aims to investigate the effects of this food policy change on the preconditions for Good Hygienic Practices (GHPs) on food premises.

Traditional-Finnish-Food-fOf the 916 food premises that were included in this study, 379 were pre-approved whereas 537 merely notified their operations.

The results show that notified food service premises (restaurants) preparing food displayed significantly more non-compliance pertaining to infrastructure than did restaurants pre-approved for food preparation (11.5% and 1.8% of the premises, respectively) (p < 0.05). Significant differences also emerged in the number of premises with non-compliance pertaining to cleaning facilities and equipment, and marked differences in the adequacy of hand and other washing sites. Such instances of non-compliance weaken the preconditions for GHPs.

The results suggest that re-introducing pre-inspections of restaurants would strengthen the preconditions for GHPs and possibly provide a model for other countries with similar food control systems.

Does waiving preventive food control inspections in Finland weaken the prerequisites for safe food handling in restaurants?

Food Control; Available online 29 June 2016; doi:10.1016/j.foodcont.2016.06.044

Veera Haukijärvi, and Janne Lundén

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956713516303589