Yuck factor grabs headlines; two Toronto high schools fingered for sort-of food safety issues

Food safety regulatory folks have been moving towards risk-based inspections for about the past 20 years. But often the risk-based infractions aren’t nearly as sexy as the yuck factor stuff. Parent Central, a section of the Toronto Star‘s website focuses on the not-so-risky stuff. I start to get concerned when I see stuff like poor handwashing, cross-contamination or foods held at incorrect temps. Old potato peelers, not so much.

According to Parent Central,

The DineSafe infractions include improper water temperature in the dishwasher, an old potato peeler that needed to be thrown out, butcher blocks that required refinishing and a dirty oven exhaust hood.

Toronto food safety Superman and barfblog friend, Sylvanus Thompson even makes an appearance,

But high school students shouldn’t be afraid of eating at the cafeterias, said Sylvanus Thompson of Toronto Public Health.

“If there is a health hazard, we would close the establishment,” Thompson said.

The violations at both schools happened under the watch of their culinary arts programs, said Toronto school board spokeswoman Zoya McGroarty. At Central Tech, this food is not served to students and only occasionally sold to staff, she said.

Both schools received a “conditional pass” grade from inspectors and the kitchens remained open. All infractions were either rectified immediately or are in the process of being fixed, McGroarty said, adding the board takes such matters very seriously.


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About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is an associate professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.