Saks Restaurant and Bar owners in Australia assure public the food is safe after cockroaches in kitchen fail

Saks Restaurant and Bar at Marina Mirage owners were forced to spend more than $55,000 on cleaning and structural changes after Gold Coast City Council food safety officers busted them for failing several inspections last year.

Saks-Restaurant-BarInspectors discovered dead and live cockroaches in the commercial kitchen, uncovered seafood and surfaces covered in grease, grime, dirt and mould on three separate inspections in September 2013.

Council solicitor Nick Hatcher yesterday told the Southport Magistrates Court 15 cockroaches had been found under the refrigerated pizza unit, near the pizza oven, at the washing up sink and in the dry storage area.

He said the restaurant had been given a clean bill of health in April this year but a single dead cockroach was found during a surprise inspection last week.

Saks pleaded guilty through lawyer Michael McMillan to one count of failing to comply with a requirement imposed by the Food Standards Code.

Mr McMillan said his clients took over the business a year ago but were “just accountants” who had little experience in the hospitality industry and were “not up to speed”.

The council asked for fines up to $25,000 while Mr McMillan said a lesser fine of up to $15,000 was more fitting as the business had no previous breaches and had already suffered adverse publicity this week.

“They take a lot of pride in what they do and they are very upset about how this negative publicity will affect them,” he said.

He said the owners wanted to reassure customers that the restaurant was now fully compliant.

“Saks is open for business and people can be assured that all the food stuff they eat there are safe and staff are doing all they can to make customers’ happy,” he said.

But Magistrate Ron Kilner expressed disgust at the owners slow compliance with council orders. “Members of the public were put at risk of salmonella poisoning … due to the poor hygiene at the restaurant,” he said.

“The fact of the matter is, they didn’t shut the doors — they kept the restaurant open for business, presumably making money while not complying.

Fancy food ain’t safe food; Gold Coast, Australia edition

Council food safety inspectors have allegedly uncovered dead and live cockroaches in the kitchen of one of the Gold Coast’s ritziest restaurants.

Saks-Restaurant-BarCourt documents reveal cockroaches were found in the dry goods storage area and near the pizza ovens at Saks restaurant at Main Beach.

Other potential health and hygiene nasties allegedly uncovered included open food containers, some with raw seafood in them, on bench tops. Dirt, mould and accumulated grease were also found in the kitchen during the routine inspection on September 25.

Council subsequently issued a breach notice against the restaurant. The restaurant’s owner, Saks Investments Pty Ltd pleaded guilty, and is due to be sentenced in the Southport Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

This case comes after recent figures revealed Brisbane Council’s food safety inspectors issued $600,000 in fines to some of the city’s top restaurants. Breaches related to cockroaches in the kitchen and rat droppings in deep fryers.

Maybe ServSafe sucks? University of Georgia food services takes precautions after receiving poor health scores during spring semester

After receiving two low scores for dining hall health inspections last spring, University of Georgia Food Services is taking extra health and safety precautions to begin the new school year.

u.georgia.food.service“We take food safety very seriously in the department,” said Bryan Varin, associate director of meal plan operations at UGA. “It’s something we focus a lot of time and energy on.”

All employees are required to complete a food safety course called ServSafe provided by the National Restaurant Association, Varin said.

“We go through intensive training with our managers, full-timers and student employees as well,” he said. “We’re constantly monitoring our practices, making improvements where we see that they need to be, reinforcing policies that we currently have that work. So it’s very important to us to stay on top of this and to constantly monitor and train and follow-through with employees and ourselves to make sure we’re doing the right thing.”

South Australian restaurant fined for breaching food safety code by having rodent droppings

The owners of Garam Masala Indian Cuisine, Dernancourt, today pleaded guilty in the Holden Hill Magistrates Court to three counts of failing to comply with a requirement of the food standards code.

Garam Masala Indian Cuisine, DernancourtA further 17 counts of the same charge were dropped.

In sentencing today, Magistrate Cathy Deland said the restaurant had made some efforts to exterminate the pest problem but failed to ensure they did not return.

“The offences are serious and I have no doubt there was significant public concern, and general health concerns, over the conditions in the restaurant,” she said.

The court had earlier heard the owners of the restaurant were looking to sell the business after a drop in revenue caused by the negative publicity surrounding the case.

Magistrate Deland fined Garam Masala $5000 plus court and prosecution costs.

We’ve never made anyone sick: UK pub defends catering business after £8,000 fine

A pub landlord has defended his catering business after they were fined nearly £8,000 for failing to ensure their food was safe.

Nettleton Bottom - Golden HeartCatherine Stevens and David Morgan, who run the Golden Heart Inn in Nettleton Bottom, near Cheltenham, have admitted they made food available to customers which was “injurious to health”.

The caterers had provided Indian-style food and drink for a ‘Bollywood’ event in May 2013 at the Birdlip and Brimpsfield Cricket Club, in aid of the Great Western Air Ambulance Service.

Around 165 people had attended the event, and nearly 70 people complained to Cotswold District Council about having food-poisoning symptoms the following day.

Appearing at Cheltenham Magistrates Court on Monday, the pair pleaded guilty for failing to implement adequate food safety procedures for the catering business.

They were fined £3,5000 each, and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £120 and costs of £375 each, a combined total of £7,990 in total.

About 165 people had attended the day’s event.

Yesterday, Mr Morgan told the Echo it had been an isolated incident, and safety measures have since been put in.

He added: “It was an isolated incident and something we deeply regretted.

“It was also 15 months ago, and we have since had all the paper work and measures put in place.

“The pub also had a five-star hygiene rating until January this year, which had to go to three-star because of this incident.

“We’ve been here for around 20 years, and have served around 500,000 meals, without any problems.

“This was one of those horrible incidents that happens some times, as with all businesses. We do regret it.”

Seattle restaurants may finally get restaurant grading system

It’s deeply weird or deeply hypocritical that Seattle, self-proclaimed home to many things food, doesn’t have a decent restaurant inspection disclosure system.

restaurant.food.crap.09We’ve tried to make as much information available as possible,” says Becky Elias, Manager of Food Protection for Public Health – Seattle & King County. “As a consumer, you could look up an individual restaurant and see the entirety of all of their inspections, and see how they’ve done. We did that because we wanted it to be as transparent as possible.”

But two-time E. coli victim Sarah Schacht says the system is antiquated and overly complicated, making it difficult to quickly determine how a restaurant is actually doing.

She launched a petition on Change.org earlier this year calling for the county to mandate publicly posted restaurant inspection scores. She says other cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York have seen significant reductions in food-related illnesses since restaurants began posting A, B, C, or F grades in their front window.

“We saw, in Toronto, a 30 percent reduction of total foodborne illnesses when they started a public scoring system for restaurants,” Schaht says.

“We have heard that message loud and clear that that’s something people are wanting,” Elias responds. “So we’re now actively engaging in the process.”

The health department has formed several committees made up of restaurants, health officials and others to come up with new policies for presenting food inspection results.

Elias says they’ll look at findings from other cities, and while they might not adopt a letter grade, they are committed to some public display that quickly informs customers how a restaurant fared.

restaurant-letter-grade“I think that we’re really excited about working towards something that meets the need of improving food safety, making something that is easier for people to understand, and also designing something that is equitable for the incredibly diverse array of food businesses that we have here in King County,” says Elias.

I’m glad you’re excited, with your public service salary, but you haven’t done anything. Toronto did it 12 years ago.

Here’s some researxh to get you more excited.

Can I have your salary and benefits?

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.

Abstract

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.

 

Filion, K. and Powell, D.A. 2011. Designing a national restaurant inspection disclosure system for New Zealand. Journal of Food Protection 74(11): 1869-1874
.

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.

UK restaurant closed after dead rat found

Rat carcasses, droppings, flies and contaminated food were just some of the problems food safety officers found when they carried out surprise inspections of food businesses in Ealing.

Coco Noodle Bar, on Ealing BroadwayCoco Noodle Bar, on Ealing Broadway, was forced to close for a week after dirt, droppings and a rat carcass were found. This is the third time in 8 years that Noodle Bar has been closed for food safety reasons. The restaurant’s owner, Michael Ly, has reportedly already paid £30,000 in fines for the first two instances.

Gateway Pizza in Florida closed for final time

For the past year, there have been problems and repeat health code violations inside Gateway Pizza and Pasta Company. The restaurant is located in St. Petersburg on 94th Ave North, just south of Gandy Blvd.

10 Investigates has taken you inside the restaurant numerous times, after state health inspectors repeatedly found problems so severe they ordered the restaurant closed down. Now we’ve learned Gateway Pizza has closed for good after the state recommended a five-day suspension of the restaurant’s license and a $1,600 fine, the maximum allowed by law.

Gateway Pizza racked up 117 violations on seven different inspections according to state records. The issues included live flies and roaches in the kitchen, rodent droppings on and around the dough mixer, along with rancid chicken wings.

Ironically, the restaurant’s owner Gary Darin was himself a former food safety inspector for the state of Florida.

A sign on the front door says the pizza parlor will soon reopen with a new name.

Coachella Calif., home of all things groovy and where 8% of food businesses fail inspection

While the vast majority of Coachella Valley food establishments received “A” grades, about 8 percent failed unannounced health inspections in the past two years, according to a Desert Sun analysis of data from the Riverside County Department of Environmental Health.

imagesOut of the valley’s 1,865 such businesses — ranging from restaurants and ice cream trucks to hot dog stands and grocery stores — 151 were downgraded from an “A” rating when inspected from July 2012 to June 2014.

Of those failed inspections, 17 led to closures.

Six businesses failed three or more inspections.

Toni Romero, owner of the catering service Sacher Enterprises, said she supports the stringent grading system because it adds transparency and accountability.

“We could be wrong from anything – from the refrigerator not working, from your temperatures not being at the right temperature. It could be a variety of things, not necessarily that it’s a bad place,” said Romero, who operates her catering service in a commercial kitchen.

“You have to remember that they’re (health inspectors) looking out for the public,” she added. “That’s what their job is. They’re not going to go in and give you problems just because. They go by the guidelines.”

Riverside County has used a color-coded grading system since 1963 for public awareness.

The blue “A” signifies a restaurant is up to par with county health guidelines. A green “B” or red “C” indicates trouble.

The argument can be made that unannounced health inspections – which vary in frequency for each establishment though occur at least once per year – are not representative of a restaurant’s overall compliance with health and sanitation standards.

“It’s not necessarily accurate, but it’s better than nothing,” said Doug Powell, a former public health professor and publisher of Barfblog.com, a website that aggregates food safety news coverage.

Powell likened the inspections to “snapshots in time,” but said that enforcing compliance through public notices like letter grades is a form of “shame and blame (that) is probably the most effective because no one really wants to be embarrassed.”

The letters usually are plastered near the front entrance. Inspection reports are available at restaurantgrading.rivcoeh.org, which is updated daily. Restaurants and other food businesses also are required to show their latest report if a customer asks to see it.

An “A” is the only passing grade in the system, which scores inspections from 0-100, with 90 being the cutoff point for a pass.

The points are deducted in increments of one, two and four points per violation, depending on the severity.

They add up.

“Traditionally, you’ll see minor violation after minor violation, and the next thing you know, they don’t have enough consistent points to stay in that 90 percentile,” said Howard Cannon of Restaurant Expert Witness, an Atlanta-based consultancy that provides testimony, opinions and reports for plaintiffs and defendants in court cases.

“If you prepare your restaurant every day with the idea of safety, security, cleanliness, operational execution, the reality is that the health department score will be a cakewalk,” he said.

“It’s the ones that are waiting to only impress the health department, those are the ones that struggle.”

Cannon said most of the restaurateurs he consults with are “scared to death of the health department.”

“In reality, the health department is there to help. So even though it’s a scoring process, they’re providing corrective feedback. The reality is that they don’t want you to do poorly.”

Brisbane food court operator fined $15,000 after rat infestation

In the Tampa of the south – Brisbane, they’re equidistant from the equator — Queen Street FantAsia owner Yuk Lin Wong, 56, pleaded guilty in the Brisbane Magistrates Court to five charges, including failing to take measures to eradicate pests after a council inspection revealed rat droppings throughout the eatery on September 19, 2012.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMagistrate Judith Daley fined Wong $15,000 for failing to ensure her business complied with the Food Act.

Outside court, Wong said she had taken the breaches “very seriously” and it was now safe to eat there.

“We are taking every single step, and we closed the store immediately … (It is) always safe,” she said.

Prosecutor April Freeman said Brisbane City Council inspectors went to the business in the Myer Centre food court following complaints raised about a rodent problem in the centre.

She said inspectors discovered prawns were stored in an uncovered and damaged container in the cold room, the handwash basin was obstructed and a damaged wall in the cooking area.

Ms Freeman said inspectors discovered there was no device for measuring the temperature of food such as pork, chicken and seafood at the premises.

But she said the most serious charge related to the discovery of rat droppings throughout the eatery, including on the floor, on top of a freezer and behind a drinks fridge.