Food Safety Talk 128: It’s the Esters, John

The show begins with a discussion of Ben’s recent travels. From there the discussion moves on to obligatory talk about beverages, Canadian and Philadelphia accents, Apple, and other podcasts. The food safety talk begins in earnest with the discussion about what is meant by the words ‘risk assessment’. From there the discussion turns to ‘food safety programs’, restaurant inspections and what customers might want to know, the humor of David Lloyd, and then back to meat safety and proper thermometer use. The show ends with The Onions humorous take on handwashing water temperature. The After Dark contains the usual nonsense including talk about music videos.

Episode 128 can be found here and on iTunes.

Show notes so you can follow along at home:

 

Popular sandwich shop in Bradenton cited for roach activity

I spoke with my friend Gary this a.m., and told him once again how much I appreciated him throwing a few bucks my way while I actually tried to think about food safety issues.

He asked if I was going to the International Association for Food Protection meeting in Tampa this year.

I said, nah, I’m not a prof, no funding, although it would be fun to catch up with everyone, and stay at Anna Maria Island once again, about 90 minutes from Tampa.

We live in Brisbane, we’re used to Florida in the summer.

But the surrounding restaurants sorta suck.

The Wicked Taco Cantina, 101 7th St. N., Bradenton Beach, was cited on May 24 for holding cold food at temperatures above 41 degrees, including pico de gallo, guacamole and sour cream. The establishment also was cited for improper hand washing procedures. Per the report: “Server handled soiled dishes or utensils and then picked up plated food, served food, or prepared a beverage without washing hands. Observed employee handle dirty dishes from customers table, then prepare a personal beverage at soda machine. Observed employee use ice scoop. No hand washing observed. Observed server handle dirty dishes from customers table, sweep floor then make a customer’s beverage. No hand washing observed.”

The hand-washing violation was again noted on an inspection two days later. In the May 26 inspection report, the inspector said corrective action was taken.

On Thursday, inspectors visited The Beach House, 200 N. Gulf Drive, Bradenton Beach, to check on a violation they cited the restaurant for during a May 19 inspection: “Potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food cold held at greater than 41 degrees Fahrenheit,” per the report. Items in the cooler included dairy mix, raw shrimp and tomato sauce. Similar issues were observed with other coolers in the restaurant. The inspectors noted that corrective action was taken on the same day.

To search for restaurants and inspections, visit dine.bradenton.com.

Bradenton, you can do better.

Especially if you’re going to have a few thousand food safety folks hanging around.

 

Fancy food ain’t safe food and everyone’s got a camera, celebrity cupcake edition

James Wilkinson of the Daily Mail reports that customers of celebrity-endorsed California cupcake shop Sprinkles have been given paws for thought after footage emerged of a giant rat scurrying across its shelves.

The video, entitled ‘Rat in cupcake store/live Ratatouille’, shows the rogue rodent scampering over empty shelves in the store, which was closed overnight.

On Monday chief marketing officer Jennifer Warner told KTLA 5: ‘We deeply regret that an unfortunate set of circumstances, including a structural malfunction, lead to this incident.’

Sprinkles, which is owned by Cupcake Wars judge Candace Nelson, started in Beverly Hills in 2005. Its Glendale branch opened three years ago. 

According to the Sprinkles website, other celebs that favor the chain include Blake Lively, Katie Holmes, Barbra Streisand and Ryan Seacrest.

These people are celebrities? Hopeless.

 

 

But do they have the same suppliers? Salmonella strikes 8 at 2 Boston restaurants

Restaurants that run a clean business and take pride in food safety should brag about it.

But food safety extends to suppliers.

(And I love the Chipotle ref in the clip: “Sure it happens, but I’ll go back.”)

Michael Rosenfield of NBC Boston reports that testing is taking place on all employees at two Boston restaurants as health officials try to figure out if one of the workers may be the cause of the salmonella outbreak that has sickened eight people.

Health officials say the common link in each of the eight cases is two restaurants that are both in the same office building in the Back Bay, Café Med and Back Bay Sandwich.

Four people got sick after eating at Café Med, two after eating at Back Bay Sandwich, and two other customers ate at both, according to the Boston Public Health Commission.

Inspectors found numerous code violations at both eateries, prompting the city to shut down the businesses temporarily.

“We have always addressed primary inspection violations, and always passed the follow-up inspection,” the owner of Back Bay Sandwich said in a statement. “We have always prided ourselves on the cleanliness of the business, and I look forward to working with the city to improve on all aspects.”

Despite being in the same building, both restaurants have separate staffs and kitchens.

Do the two restaurants have common suppliers? And what are those ingredients that may harbor Salmonella?

Not dead yet, still give good soundbite: Food trucks can suck, Boston edition

Food trucks are not some glamorized version of nirvana that Jon Favreau can make into a movie.

There are food safety risks, and they are magnified by the small  space and hipster environment of a food truck.

Megan Woolhouse of the Boston Globe called me a couple of weeks ago ([email protected]) and I told her what I thought.

(It’s amazing that reporters can track me down in Australia, but Kansas State University decided I was not on campus so couldn’t do my job, as they moved toward distance education; my guess is the cattle farmers that fund Kansas didn’t like the things I was saying publicly. Whatever. So far over it.)

Megan writes: They’re restaurants on wheels, churning out everything from pan-seared dumplings to juicy porchetta sandwiches for the city’s hungry lunchtime crowds.

But food trucks, which are proliferating at a rapid pace around Boston, are more likely to be temporarily shut down for serious health violations than their brick-and-mortar counterparts, most commonly for violating a basic requirement for proper sanitation: running water.

A Boston Globe review of 2016 city health records found that while food trucks were less likely overall than restaurants to have violations, they were more likely to be suspended for serious issues that pose an “imminent public health threat.’’ Nine of the city’s 96 licensed food trucks last year were closed on the spot until the violations were corrected, usually within a week or two. By comparison, two of every 100 restaurants were suspended.

A recent E. coli outbreak that shuttered several food trucks operated by the Chicken & Rice Guys has raised questions about whether these movable feasts are as safe as traditional restaurants.

Food trucks in Boston were cited for violations 200 times in 2016, and of that total, about half were serious infractions, and the other half minor. A majority of the most serious violations that led to temporary suspensions were related to water, or the lack of it.

On board some trucks, the water tank was empty or a sink or pipe leaked, so employees were not able to rinse vegetables and surfaces or wash their hands, as required by health regulations.

City inspectors closed The Savory Truck outside Brigham and Women’s Hospital in April 2016 after inspectors found condensation dripping into food and no water for employees to wash their hands, according to city inspection reports.

The next day, officials temporarily shuttered Saigon Alley, a food truck specializing in Vietnamese fare in the Financial District. Health inspectors said there was “no evidence of handwashing due to broken pipes at handsink.”

The Clover food truck parked at Dewey Square was ordered to close immediately last October. Once again, the issue was water.

In 2013, Clover voluntarily pulled its trucks off the road after a salmonella outbreak affected 12 people, at least half of whom ate at one of its restaurants or food trucks. Salmonella bacteria can cause diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps, and in severe cases, hospitalization.

On the Rose Kennedy Greenway, customers lined up for lunch at a food truck.

Water and hand-washing are fundamental to keeping harmful bacteria at bay in any food establishment, but even more critical on a food truck, said Doug Powell a former professor of food safety at Kansas State University and an author of barfblog.com, which chronicles foodborne illness outbreaks.

In a small space, washing takes on more importance because bad bacteria can spread more quickly. Cutting surfaces on the trucks are used for a variety of tasks, he said, and workers who serve food might also collect payments.

The rolling restaurants are also not connected directly to a city’s water supply and rely instead on a water tank connected to a sink, much like on a boat or airplane. Water can simply run out, and finding places to refill poses another dilemma, so workers might cut corners to conserve it.

“All of those health problems get magnified in a smaller space on a food truck,” Powell said. “So you really have to be good at what you’re doing.”

The problems have come to light as food trucks soar in popularity. The number of trucks in Boston grew from 14 in 2010 to 96 in 2016.

Trucks generally operate without significant problems, and the industry has long argued that they are as safe as — if not safer than — restaurants.

Matt Geller, president of the National Food Truck Association, said, “We see E. coli outbreaks in restaurants, so it’s not about the vehicle or the food. It’s about the particular operation.”

That’s idocracy.

E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria are almost always about the ingredients that restaurants source.

They have no fucking clue.

Food inspector in the house: Petting zoo, sushi and school fete

Grey nomading is a term I never heard until I came to Australia.

Same with fete.

A grey nomad is “a retired person who travels independently and for an extended period within their own country, particularly in a caravan or motor home.”

My retired friend Rod, previously with the New South Wales Food Authority, and his wife Alison were grey nomading by BrisVegas on Sunday, so I took them to Sorenne’s school fete, featuring a petting zoo, homemade foods and a host of microbiological hazards.

As we passed the sushi stall, we looked at each other and silently shook our heads, no.

Darcy Spears of KTNV in Nevada reports, the annual River Run, which brings tens of thousands of people to Laughlin from Las Vegas and elsewhere, a Laughlin sushi bar will be recovering from a 33-demerit C grade.

The sushi bar at Minato Japanese and Korean restaurant on South Casino Drive in Laughlin is back on Dirty Dining for the second time.

Darcy: And we’d just like to get your side of the story from whoever is in charge.

Person in charge: Um, sorry, right now we’re not available for that.

Darcy: You’re not available? But you’re standing right in front of me. You look available.

Person in charge: I mean, you say you need a person in charge, right?

Darcy: Yes. And so of course if the restaurant’s open there has to be someone in charge on property.

Person in charge: Well, I’m in charge but you need someone probably a little higher than me for this kind of thing.

Darcy: If you need to call someone you can. We just want to make sure we give you guys the chance to tell customers why you guys happened to get the most demerits of all the inspected restaurants last week, and, a lot of stuff in here seems to indicate with temperature issues that the sushi could be potentially unsafe and we like to make sure you have the chance to comment on that.

Person in charge: Um, no thanks. I’ll decline.

Inspectors found sushi rice and shredded crab left out on the counter at unsafe temperatures. 

Ground mixed tuna and shrimp were also in the temperature danger zone.

There weren’t roaches running around or expired food, but there was a lot of issues with temperatures and handwashing and things that could spread foodborne illness.

Food safety is what happens when people pay attention.

 

These 675 people make your meals: Illinois man gets 18 months for food safety bribes

A Lynwood, Illinois man has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for accepting bribes in exchange for allowing students in his food safety training classes to bypass sanitation certification testing, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago.

Ernest Griffin, 71, was sentenced Wednesday and also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine, according to the office.

Griffin had pleaded guilty in March 2016 to one count of federal program bribery, according to court records.

His business, Food Safety Awareness, contracted with the Illinois Department of Public Health to offer food handling courses. Students needed to complete a 15-hour course and take an exam in order to receive sanitation certificates from the health department.

In exchange for bribes, Griffin submitted false certifications and false test results to the department, although prosecutors and Griffin’s lawyer disagreed on the total amount of bribes the man received, court documents show.

Prosecutors said that starting in at least 2008 and continuing through January 2015 Griffin received bribes from students, taking in a total of almost $152,000. His lawyer, in a filing, said that Griffin admitted to receiving more than $5,000 a year in bribes from 2010 through 2014.

The government said that Griffin’s bribery scheme ended only after he was confronted by FBI agents in January 2015.

The government contended that during that four-year period, about 675 students who hadn’t taken the required class or exam were given sanitation certificates.

Restaurants, food porn, coke: Brisbane’s Miami Vice

Despite the food porn on TV, the back kitchen of most restaurants seem about the same: bad food safety, a lot of drugs, and an inordinate amount of Pink Floyd.

A high profile Brisbane restaurateur has been charged with cocaine trafficking, following raids on his home and restaurant on Friday.

Daniel Milos, 40, was arrested a little more than two months after a man was acquitted of the violent murder of his brother Peter Milos, also a chef, at a home in the affluent suburb of Morningside, in May 2014.

Daniel Milos was one of several people arrested in 11 simultaneous raids in Brisbane on Friday morning that allegedly netted $750,000 worth of drugs, including cocaine and ice.

Police have described it as one of the largest cocaine busts in Queensland history.

Milos owns the up-market Italian restaurant Mariosarti in the riverside suburb of Toowong and has been a frequent donor to Queensland’s Liberal National Party.

He counts former premier Campbell Newman and former prime minister John Howard among those he has rubbed shoulders with, while, in 2016, a $300 per head LNP fundraiser with Julie Bishop as keynote speaker was abruptly moved, when party supporters raised concerns with the foreign minister’s office over Milos’ alleged drugs links.

Milos has previously been jailed for drug trafficking, in 2000.

He was sentenced to nine years for selling heroin but paroled after just 12 months.

Fancy food ain’t safe food: Trump’s Mar-a-Lago kitchen edition

While U.S. President Trump was describing the sensorial orgasm he shared with Chinese President Xi as he authorized missile strikes on a temporarily abandoned piece of concrete in Syria – “we had the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen” – the Miami Herald was unearthing food safety breaches at Mar-a-Lago, President Trump’s Palm Beach private club.

Inspectors found 13 violations at the fancy club’s kitchen, according to recently published reports — a record for an institution that charges $200,000 in initiation fees.

Three of the violations were deemed “high priority,” meaning that they could allow the presence of illness-causing bacteria on plates served in the dining room.

According to their latest visit to the club Jan. 26, state inspectors decided Mar-a-Lago’s kitchen did meet the minimum standards.

But they had a field day with elements that could give members of the high-class club and foreign dignitaries some pause:

▪ Fish designed to be served raw or undercooked, the inspection report reads, had not undergone proper parasite destruction. Kitchen staffers were ordered to cook the fish immediately or throw it out.

▪ In two of the club’s coolers, inspectors found that raw meats that should be stored at 41 degrees were much too warm and potentially dangerous: chicken was 49 degrees, duck clocked in a 50 degrees and raw beef was 50 degrees. The winner? Ham at 57 degrees.

▪ The club was cited for not maintaining the coolers in proper working order and was ordered to have them emptied immediately and repaired.

Mar-a-Lago General Manager Bernd Lembcke did not return calls for comment.

24-hour rule: Works in hockey and restaurant complaints

I often go off and prematurely hit send.

But through the contributions of more experienced coaches, I’ve come to appreciate the value of the 24-hour rule.

It means think about it, and is it really so important?

I had my first parents’ meeting of the new ice hockey season (because I have to say ice hockey in Australia) and stressed the 24-hour rule: Don’t talk to me during practice or games, don’t talk to me afterwards, give it 24 hours.

In turn, I will wait 24 hours until I say something.

Sure, this sounds like trivial maturity, but when adults and kids go to arenas, and put all that gear on, crazy things happen.

I’m the coach – and have put in the 40 hours of training, just like the 7 years of PhD training — and I am to be calm, like supervising PhD students who are freaking out.

According to Elizabeth Henson of The Advertiser, a top Adelaide restaurateur, embroiled in a fiery keyboard stoush with a customer he called “dimwitted”, says it’s time eateries “give as good as they get” when the butt of scathing online criticism.

Victory Hotel and Star of Greece owner Doug Govan let rip on Facebook after patron Jodie Clarke described the hotel as “rude and obnoxious” and “so unaccommodating” — and another, Emma-Jade Fowler, described “terrible customer service” after a booking mishap at the weekend.

Mr Govan branded Ms Fowler “dimwitted” and argued that businesses should be able to defend themselves on social media.

But disgruntled Ms Fowler described the attack as bullying behaviour and said the Sellicks Hill hotel’s response was shameful and “disgusting.”

Let’s just accept that we’re all dimwitted to varying degrees.

The Victory Hotel’s Facebook page was forced to temporarily shut down after Ms Clarke wrote about her experience at the hotel on Saturday night after the eatery was unable to accommodate her and her friends.

“You are rude, obnoxious and so unaccommodating,” she wrote on Facebook.

“We had a group booking of 17 people, yes 17 people, and every single one … has walked away disgusted.

 “And every single one of us will tell every person we know our story of your terrible service and unhelpful, rude staff. We will never be back.”

Ms Fowler wrote “terrible customer service, you should be ashamed Victory Hotel” in reference to the booking problem.

This comment elicited an outburst from Mr Govan, which he says he now regrets.

“Terribly dim-witted Emma-Jade not-sure-what-my-first-name-should-be Emma or Jade, don’t get involved in something you don’t know anything about,” he wrote.

“Imagine one of your friends told you the sun wasn’t going to come up tomorrow. Would you agree just because they were a stupid, dim-witted friend? No, you wouldn’t. If one of your friends said I went to a restaurant with 17 people and they couldn’t find my booking? Yes, if you were a dim-witted imbecile, yes, possibly.

“But if they told you the truth and said that they had screwed up their booking, maybe you wouldn’t be wasting your time writing crap. But maybe you just love seeing your name on social media.”

Ms Fowler fired back. “At the end of the day, this is bullying and it will be taken further,” she wrote.

“You should be ashamed of the way you have responded, it’s disgusting.”

The hotel shut down its Facebook page on Monday night after a barrage of comments from those involved, as well as others, were posted about the incident. It came back online yesterday and offered an apology “for any offensive comments made on Facebook”.

A link to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission complaints portal was included in the post.