Gross: Malaysian factories found making ice from waste water

A local Malay daily has revealed the absolutely disgusting conditions in which ice cubes are made, rendering our thirst-quenching chilled drinks, the most unhygienic ever.

dirty-iceIn an investigative piece today, Sinar Harian reported on the existence of several “rogue” ice factories in the Klang Valley that use waste water to produce ice cubes and ice slabs.

Besides using obviously filthy water unfit for human consumption, the ice is manufactured in extremely unhygienic surroundings as well.

According to the report, one factory that allegedly “recycled” waste water into ice, even channelled this water to the ice-producing machine via pipes that had moss growing on the inside.

It was learned that waste water was preferred as it was already in a cold state and hence froze faster.

This short cut also invariably translated into more products in a shorter time span, and higher profits for the manufacturers.

And the horror does not stop there. If the sight of stray animals scavenging around in the ice processing area at some factories was not enough to make you gag, how about ice cubes stored on rusty trays?

The report said the toilets at these premises were also in a filthy state, and pools of stagnant water in other parts of the factory due to clogged drainage systems only made the manufacture of ice cubes and ice slabs all the more unhygienic.

Sewage forces Ireland Starbucks to close for a week

Tim O’Brien of The Irish Times reports a Starbucks outlet was among 10 food businesses to receive temporary closure orders during September from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland.

starbucks-sewageThe agency ordered the outlet at 21 Great Georges Street in Waterford to close its doors on September 27th. It remained shut for more than a week, reopening on October 5th.

The FSAI declines to give details of why closure orders are served on any outlet, but its chief executive, Dr Pamela Byrne, said they are only issued for serious risks or regular breaches of hygiene regulations.

“Enforcement orders and most especially closure orders and prohibition orders are never served for minor food safety breaches,” she said.

“They are served on food businesses only when a serious risk to consumer health has been identified or where there are a number of ongoing breaches of food legislation and that largely tends to relate to a grave hygiene or operational issue.”

A spokeswoman for Entertainment Enterprises Group, which operates the Starbucks chain in Ireland, said the Waterford closure was a result of contaminated water flowing into the shop.

“The problem was with the main drainage pipes,” she said.

“There was a rupture of the main pipe in the middle of the road outside our store. Water then seeped under the road and pavement into our basement.

“The pipes were repaired and the store is restored to its proper condition. The store reopened yesterday afternoon.”

UK: Toilet waste from older trains risks workers health, union claims

Rail workers’ health is being risked by sewage flushed from older coaches a union has said, with one-in-10 coaches in the UK still released toilet waste on to the tracks

THE-SHIT-TRAIN-300x168Ken Usher, from the Rail Maritime and Transport Union (RMT),

said train workers were at risk of contracting infections and illnesses such as hepatitis and E. coli from being in contact with sewage.

“Working trackside is a dirty job at the best of times – if you are sprayed with effluent it makes it even worse.

“If you can imagine a toilet being flushed at between 40 and 70 mph alongside you, you can get sprayed with just about any liquid and solids… not very nice at all,” he said.

Susan Lea, from Shotton in Flintshire, has a railway line at the bottom of her property, and has had toilet waste from a train blown into her garden.

“[It was] all over my washing, all over the garden, all over the fence, all over the chairs, all over the floor, it was everywhere.

“They wrote to me and told me that they’re allowed to drop this sewerage – it’s not fair on people older, like me, who have to clear it up if it does come in their garden.”

Seb Gordon, from RDG, told the BBC’s Inside Out West Midlands: “The rail safety board, the rail safety organization, has looked into [waste from trains] and has found that it’s a relatively low risk.”

Raw sewage, no hot water closes UK kebab shop

The Midhurst kebab shop has been fined for nine offences under food hygiene law in what was described as one of the worst cases of neglect of standards Chichester District Council (CDC) had ever seen.

Istanbul October 2010Following a routine visit by the council’s environmental health officers, the shop was voluntarily closed by Mr Dogdu in January last year after raw sewage was found in the premises close to the food preparation area.

Amongst many other serious matters there was also no working hot water system for washing equipment or hands, mouldy walls and food preparation surfaces in a state of disrepair.

Pleading guilty at Worthing Magistrates’ Court, Mustafa Dogdu who co-runs Ali’s Grill in North Street, has now been fined a total of £650. His brother Mehmed was cautioned by the council for two further offences.

The shop was allowed to reopen two days after the visit when the drains had been unblocked, hot water provided and other works requiring immediate attention completed.

Saudi Arabia greenhouse farms closed for using sewage water

Saad Al-Muqbil, general director of the General Administration of Agricultural Affairs in the Eastern Province, has said that the administration barred one farm from selling its produce due to its use of sewage water in irrigating crops.

The farm owner was fined SR50,000 and 14 greenhouses in his farm were dismantled. This resulted in an estimated loss of SR300,000 to the owner.
Local consumers had saudi.sewage.feb.14complained of vegetables sold in one of the well-known local grocery shops tasting foul and had voiced their concern about the quality of the crops. Shoppers demanded more intensive health control and supervision of fruits and vegetables sold in the province. 

Sewage running down walls; poop piles up on stranded Gulf cruise ship

Passengers on a Carnival cruise ship drifting in the Gulf of Mexico are sleeping on its decks, making do with a few working toilets, and doing what they can to get food — all due to a weekend engine fire left the vessel dead in the water.

CNN reports the Carnival Triumph was about 150 miles off the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, heading back Sunday morning to Galveston, Sewage_spews_from_drai19b1ae5e-dd69-4635-9537-a7f0ae9ac62d0000_20120424235220_320_240Texas — where it had departed Thursday on a four-day trip — when a fire broke out in an engine room, according to Carnival Cruise Lines.

The ship’s automatic fire extinguishing system kicked in and soon contained the flames, and no injuries were reported, Carnival reported.

Yet this fire left the ship — and its 3,143 passengers and 1,086 crew members — adrift without propulsion, the cruise line said, halting its trip back to port.

The first of two tugboats that will tow the ship to Mobile, Alabama, arrived on Monday evening, the cruise line said in a statement. The ship should arrive in the Gulf city some time Thursday.

Not being able to sail, though, is just one of the problems. Issues with running water, scarce electricity and more contributed to headaches big and small, according to passengers and their loved ones.

Toby Barlow’s wife Ann told him there was “sewage running down the walls and floors” with passengers being asked to defecate in bags and urinate in showers due to a lack of functioning toilets. Food lines ran 3½ hours long and some, like herself, slept outside to keep cool.

13 sickened with norovirus; sewage spill linked to bad oysters in 2009 NZ outbreak

Don’t eat poop. And if you do, cook the poop. Thoroughly.

Which is why I don’t eat raw oysters. Who knows what poop they’ve filtered through their bivalves.

In 2009 public health authorities traced the source of two outbreaks, in Auckland and Waikato, back to the Coromandel, according to today’s New Zealand Medical Journal.

Ten people were infected at a catered event in Auckland and three at a Cambridge restaurant. Four more at the Auckland event ate oysters but did not fall ill. Neither venue nor the oyster farm is named in the journal report.

In Cambridge, two of the unlucky diners ate their oysters raw while the third consumed cooked oyster Kilpatrick but complained the shellfish was undercooked and sent it back for re-cooking.

The Food Safety Authority closed the growing area where the oysters came from in late July 2009 following the Auckland outbreak but eight days before the Cambridge diners had their contaminated meal.

The journal report says the leaking sewer was found only by chance. In early August 2009 the Thames Coromandel District Council reported the sewer had been disturbed during maintenance of the wastewater treatment plant near the oyster growing area.

"The pipe had been leaking partially treated effluent into the stream that flowed into the affected growing area," says the report by public health doctor Richard Wall and colleagues.

Dr Wall and colleagues say temperatures above 60C deactivate norovirus, although cooking oysters has not been shown to reliably inactivate viruses.

In 2006 imported Korean oysters were blamed for five outbreaks of the disease. One of these was at Eden Park in which it was estimated more than 300 corporate guests at an All Blacks-Ireland test were poisoned after eating the raw oysters.

Whole Foods says Miami Beach has poop problem; store mess was promptly cleaned

Whole Foods has denied any wrongdoing after firing an employee who complained about poop in the cheese aisle at the Miami Beach store.

Libba from Whole Foods Market took to the Eater blog to say:

“Here are the facts regarding the plumbing issue: that area of Miami Beach has problems with pipes backing up during high tide when there’s been significant rainfall. The backup in our store equated to about an inch of water that encompassed about a three-foot span over one of the drains. The entire area was closed for complete cleaning as soon as the problem was discovered, and was cleaned and sanitized again the next day by a professional cleaning service.

“When it happened again the same professional cleaners were back at the store in less than 24 hours and the entire area was sanitized again.

“At all times, the areas of the store open to customers were clean and safe."

Whole Foods sucks at food safety, so I look forward to disclosure in the lawsuit filed on behalf of the former employee by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Inspections reveal the slime at Oshkosh restaurants

There’s a slime epidemic in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. It builds up on nozzles of soda guns. It’s on the cups that hold soda guns. It’s on ice machines and ice bins. And chances are it’s been found in your favorite tavern or restaurant.

The Oshkosh Northwestern reports that inspectors for the Oshkosh Health Department found the gooey slime that when soda, juice and other beverages builds up over time in more than 10 percent of their 424 inspections of restaurants, taverns, convenience stores and kitchens between January 2009 and April 2010.

In total, there were 44 incidents of gunk build-up during that time, making it the most cited critical violation discovered by Oshkosh Health Department Sanitarians Sandy Knutson and Ann Boyce in their annual restaurant inspections.

"For the most part, the bacteria in that slime is non-pathenogenic," Knutson said. "It probably won’t make you sick, but it will gross you out. But it’s not as big a health hazard as drains that are not open-sited."

"Sewage on the other hand …," Boyce started.
"… Has a high chance of making you ill," Knutson finished.

In 43 instances, ice bin and ice machine drains were not designed to prevent sewage from backing up into the equipment.

Food stored under sewage line; Sweat Pea closed in Colorado

It’s difficult to imagine a place called Sweet Pea Market and Café in corn-fed Colorado needing to fight the man. Serving up local produce, fighting health inspectors, it’s a powerful narrative, until folks discover food was stored beneath an unshielded sewer line in a basement walk-in cooler — installed without a permit.

Steamboat Today reports the decision by county officials Tuesday to close Sweet Pea Market and Cafe, the first license revocation of its kind in Routt County in at least 30 years, involved issues that go beyond the popular downtown eatery’s seating capacity and restrooms.

Tuesday’s Board of Health hearing was required by state law after the Routt County Department of Environmental Health assessed three fines of $1,000 each — July 28, Aug. 6 and Aug. 20 — to Sweet Pea owners Jonathon Hieb and Katherine Zambrana. The owners paid all three fines.

The violation that led to the inspections, fines and hearing involved Sweet Pea’s operation during the summer with far more seating capacity than its one restroom allowed, according to state health regulations.

The violations involve food stored in the walk-in cooler and Sweet Pea’s basement walk-in freezer, which also was installed without a permit and walled with noncompliant, absorbent materials including plywood and foam core.

County senior environmental health specialist Heather Savalox said she discovered the cooler and freezer in an inspection Sept. 2 after an anonymous complaint.

“I’ve never seen anybody else store food under a sewer line,” Savalox said about Sweet Pea’s basement. “In 15 years, I’ve never seen that.”

Mike Zopf, director of the county’s environmental health department has directed Routt County’s environmental health department for 31 years. He told commissioners Tuesday that “we have never before recommended that a retail food license be suspended or revoked until" Tuesday.

Rex Brice is vice president of the Steamboat Springs chapter of the Colorado Restaurant Association. He owns four local restaurants: Rex’s American Grill & Bar, Mazzola’s Majestic Italian Diner, Big House Burgers & Bottle Cap Bar, and Lil’ House Country Biscuits & Coffee.

“I feel bad for Sweet Pea, but I’ve always been given the information I’ve needed to make those decisions and I’ve always been held accountable for the regulations,” Brice said. “I guess if you’re going to hold one person accountable, you’ve got to hold everybody accountable.”

In explaining her support for the Sweet Pea license revocation, Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush said the potential impacts of public health risks can be disastrous.

She recalled a local incident of salmonella in 2002 at the former Seasons at the Pond restaurant.

The outbreak occurred Dec. 16, 2002, likely from fruit salad. Fifty-one cases of salmonella were reported in the weeks that followed. Those contaminated ranged from 4 to 72 years old, and 96 percent were Routt County residents.

Hieb said Sweet Pea had about 15 people on staff at the time of the revocation.

He said the community showed “unbelievable” support for Sweet Pea on Tuesday night when the market had a sale on inventory up to its closure at midnight Wednesday.

“Thank God for our community,” Hieb continued. “We’re going to do everything in our power to open up in two months.”