Cigarette butt in chips and rats spotted on premises among FSAI findings

The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) report for 2016 reveals that they handled over 10,000 queries in 2016, as well as outlining some of the more gruesome finds made by their inspectors.

The report outlines the wide scope of the Authority, who now supervise almost 50,000 food businesses (49,404 to be exact) and their Advice Line took 10,497 queries from consumers, manufacturers and retailers in 2016.

According to the report, contamination of food with foreign objects was frequently reported to them by consumers.

Last year these reports included:

  • allegations of food contaminated with insects and glass,
  • a live insect found in a packaged dessert
  • a long black hair in garlic sauce
  • a human nail in a takeaway meal
  • glass in a dessert
  • plastic rope in a takeaway meal
  • a cigarette butt in a bag of chips.

Other complaints regarding poor hygiene standards included:

  • dirty customer toilets
  • rats seen on the premises
  • dirty tables and floors
  • and one case of a staff member at a deli sneezing into their hands and then preparing sandwiches without washing their hands.

All complaints received were followed up and investigated.

In total, 106 Enforcement Orders were served on food businesses last year by the Authority.

That broke down to 94 Closure Orders, three Improvement orders and nine Prohibition Orders.

The annual report also reveals the FSAI sampled and tested 56,588 samples, while 2,625 food supplements were assessed.

And the highest number of food alerts were issued in a decade, 39 in total.

These alerts resulted in product recalls or withdrawals.

‘It’d be better for me if you don’t understand’ Dorking sandwich shop has ‘no understanding’ of food contamination

A sandwich shop in Dorking has been criticised for having “no understanding” of food contamination after staff failed to wash their hands after touching raw meat on multiple occasions.

Sam Truelove of Get Surrey writes that Jax, in South Street, was inspected on May 24 by a Mole Valley District Councilofficer on behalf of the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

The café and takeaway, which sells a variety of sandwiches, rolls and baguettes, received a food hygiene rating of one – the second lowest possible – which means “major improvement” is necessary.

The damning details of the report have been released following a Freedom of Information (FOI) request and show that major concerns were raised over the potential cross contamination and cleanliness of the eatery.

The hygiene officer even sent staff to buy chemical disinfectant during her visit.

The report said: “[Staff] handle a lot of raw meat in a small area – no sanitiser or understanding of cross contamination.”

It adds: “No hand washing seen after handling raw meat or shell eggs even after being told to wash hands.”

According to the latest information on the FSA’s website, Jax, which is open between 8am and 3pm, is still judged to have a rating of one for its food hygiene, and is still failing to meet two of the key areas assessed by the inspector.

Michelin star chef perturbed at health inspectors

The autumn season in Manitoba (Canada) can be tricky, some days are sunny and warm and others bitter cold. Today is one of those rare warm days so my family and I are planning to cook some chicken on the BBQ. I use a probe thermometer to ensure the poultry is cooked to 74C (165F) so I’m not concerned with microbial safety, it’s the heterocyclic amines that bug me.

A Michelin star chef in the UK is upset that health inspectors questioned his cooking of chicken livers for pate resulting in a poor restaurant health rating.

Jane de Graaff reports

Earlier this week we clocked a story at 9Honey Kitchen that involved internationally acclaimed restaurant Rocksalt in the UK’s Folkestone losing its 5-star health rating over its treatment of chicken. The story goes that the time and temperatures for cooking the chicken livers used in a pâté dish allowed them to retain a blushing pink colour along with a silky texture. When questioned by health and safety inspectors, some of the technique specified was a little confused, and despite the restaurants stellar reputation, resulted in their 5-star health rating being dropped down to 2-star. The restaurant was—not unexpectedly—a little perturbed as the misunderstanding could have been cleared up and the restaurant’s health practices have otherwise been exemplary.
Chef Mark Sargeant—who trained under Gordon Ramsay, has a Michelin star and runs several restaurants—knows full well the implications of dishes being served in a less that regulatory way. Sargent was clearly unimpressed and requested a reassessment of the restaurant’s standards sooner than the usual 3-month period, as the chef feels it’s a misrepresentation of what his team delivers.
“[It’s] the skill of a very good kitchen, you get a beautiful set chicken liver pâté with a beautiful flush going through it which obviously comes about from cooking it at a certain temperature. But it’s cooked, it’s completely safe,” the Telegraph UK reports Sargeant commenting.
He went on to note that it was such overly strict guidelines in the UK that lead to medium-rare burgers being off the menu, as well as the classic dish of steak tartare (raw beef) required to be seared on the outside before scraping out the centre to use in the dish.
As that debate rages on, we thought it might be time to check in with our friends at the CSIRO to find out what the recommendations on chicken actually are. Having seen recent (and reoccurring) stories about chicken sashimi, we wanted to set the record straight, because there seems to be some confusing trends on the rise.

So, can you ever eat chicken raw? Cathy Moir, Senior Food Microbiologist at the CSIRO, say unequivocally no.
“Chicken should not be eaten raw because it may carry harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and Campylobacter that can result in foodborne infection and gastroenteritis,” she says, adding that chicken livers are no different.
“There have been outbreaks of Campylobacter food poisoning linked to dishes such as pâté, where poultry liver has been undercooked. Like other poultry meat, livers need to be cooked all the way through to kill bacteria that may be present. Lightly frying the surface is not enough. Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) recommends that cooked whole livers may still be slightly pink in the centre, but they should never be bloody or look raw.”
Why Moir advises that long, slow, low temperature cooking can be used to cook chicken and still retain a nice blush, but it’s a method best left to professionals of have the training and means to know when they are getting this just right. For Moir the best way to know with certainty that a food like chicken is cooked through is to use an internal thermometer and make sure that the interior temperature is 75°C for chicken.
“Different meats require different cooking temperatures to destroy harmful bacteria. Not only should we cook chicken right through until it reaches an internal temperature of 75°C, the same goes for minced or boned meats, hamburger, stuffed meats, mechanically tenderised meat and sausages. This is because food poisoning bacteria can be present all the way through these types of meat products as well as on the surface and only thorough cooking will kill them. Use a meat thermometer to check temperatures in the thickest part of the meat and always follow cooking instructions on packaged foods.”
Simply put, there is no such thing as chicken sashimi, rare chicken or translucent chicken. These should be avoided at all costs.
So perhaps the health and safety officers in the UK were right to judge harshly on the pink pâté issue after all.

 

Fancy food ain’t safe food, crab edition

The Crab in the Park Central Hotel restaurant, Exeter Road, Bournemouth, UK, which boasts two AA Rosettes and its chefs are ‘Michelin-star trained’ has been given a zero food hygiene rating after food inspectors launched an investigation.

‘Urgent improvement is necessary’ at after an impromptu inspection earlier this year.

Alex Winter of the Daily Echo writes inspectors raised concerns under the category ‘management of food safety’, which includes assessment of the system or checks in place to ensure that food sold or served is safe to eat and evidence that staff know about food safety.

However, the inspectors also found improvements are also needed in categories ‘hygienic food handling’, which includes preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling and storage, as well as ‘cleanliness and condition of facilities and building to enable good food hygiene’.

Seafood mains on the à la carte menu begin at £18.95 for ‘The Crab’s posh fish and chips’, while lobster linguine is £26.95.

The restaurant also offers delicacies including sashimi tuna tartar, scallops and octopus.

The manager of the Park Central Hotel had not returned calls from the Daily Echo at the time of going to press.

Fancy food ain’t safe food, Mark Sergeant’s Rocksalt edition

An award-winning Folkestone, UK, restaurant run by celebrity chef Mark Sergeant has been given a low food hygiene rating.

Inspectors discovered ‘unsafe’ cooking procedures at Rocksalt, in Folkestone Harbour and the top eatery was told ‘improvement is necessary’.

Callum Wilson of Kent Live reports the damning Environmental Health report, inspectors said diners were at risk of food poisoning.

The restaurant, which has previously received rave reviews, has now had its five star rating taken away and replaced with the much lower rating ‘requires improvement’.

A Shepway District Council environmental health officer took the perfect score away after finding a ‘high risk’ chicken liver was undercooked.

The officer said: “I noted some cooking procedures that could lead to an unsafe product. For example: chicken livers maybe cooked “medium”.

“Chicken liver pate is cooked in the combi-oven. Core temperature is monitored using a probe and the product is considered cooked when it reaches 70 C.

“The time temperature combination for thorough cooking is 70C held for 2 minutes.”

In a warning to the restaurant, the officer said: “Please ensure chicken products are thoroughly cooked (as per your HACCP procedure for high risk products)”.

Rocksalt is co-owned by celebrity chef Mark Sargeant and Josh DeHaan and opened in 2011.

No one at the restaurant was available for comment.

However, a post appeared on the Rocksalt website saying: “We have requested a revisit and have addressed the single cooking technique deemed incorrect.

“We have urgently retrained all staff to our correct procedure.”

Fail: Paulding County restaurant inspections

Food safety is behavior-based. Public health inspections are a necessary means to ensure compliance with food safety regs but are a snap shot in time. It may be more beneficial to provide some on-site training during the inspection to effectively engage operators. They’ll be in their own environment, feel comfortable, and by actually working with them hands-on; you can break the English-as-second language barrier, if that exists.

Doug Gross reports

Two different Paulding County restaurants failed their health and safety inspections this past week, with inspectors finding problems ranging from raw chicken being stored on the floor to food that should have been thrown away still being in the cooler.
China Wok, off of Dallas Nebo Road at 4813 Ridge Rd., scored a 63/U on its inspection Tuesday and Las Palmas Restaurant, at 480 Watts Rd. in Hiram, scored an even lower 55/U on Monday.
At China Wok, inspectors said they found raw chicken being stored in a plastic bin on the floor. Rangoons were found in a small metal bowl being stored on top of a trash can. In the cooler, an uncovered container of raw chicken was being stored above containers of sauce and another bowl of raw chicken was being stored above green onions.
Food residue was found on a knife and potato peeler that were supposed to be clean, an employee was wearing a charm bracelet while preparing food and another was serving food without any kind of hair restraint.
Managers were found not to be properly trained and the restaurant couldn’t show that workers had gotten the proper food safety training.
At Las Palmas, cooked pork, pasta noodles, stuffed peppers and refried beans all were found with date markings that meant they should already have been thrown out. The marking on the beans suggested they were more than two-and-a-half weeks old.
Packages of raw ground beef were being stored next to lettuce, raw shrimp was left in a sink to thaw, two microwaves had food debris in them from the day before and food was being stored at the wrong temperature.
Managers didn’t display they’d had the proper training and the restaurant had no established procedures for what to do if a customer gets sick while there, the report said.
According to state policies, the restaurants will be inspected again within the next 10 days. If either hasn’t addressed the problems from the original inspection by then, inspectors could shut the restaurant down until the problems are fixed.

Not going to solve the issue. The problems may be altered temporarily and the restaurant will be open for business. However, from my experience, unless you can tackle the underlying issues that contributing to the problems initially; the restaurant will resort its’ original state. It’s all about behavior and effective training.

260 sickened last year: Closed and broke, Golden Ponds restaurant to hold auction

On Tuesday, September 19, the owner of the Greece restaurant, Golden Ponds, will sell everything at auction – from the freezer to the flatware.

The Monroe County Health Department says last year 260 people got sick after eating at his Thanksgiving Buffet. Health inspectors shut him down. When he finally reopened, patrons did not come back. Now he’s facing lawsuits, deep debt, and the end of his career. On Friday, he opened his doors and ended his silence for this week’s Restaurants Exposed report.

Ralph Rinaudo hasn’t changed a thing since that January day when he closed the doors for good at Golden Ponds. When News10NBC toured the restaurant, tables were still set, plates were stacked, and linens covered long tables were buffets were served.

“I left everything just the way it was, and it’s tough to just take things out,” said Rinaudo. “All the parties we had booked they just canceled because people were telling me that their friends or people don’t want to come here because they were afraid,” he admitted.

In fact, in the party room, tables are still set for a party that canceled eight months ago. Warmers await food for the buffet – an eerie reminder of the event that forced Rinaudo to close his doors. Asked if he felt guilty about the 260 people who the health department has determined were sickened at his restaurant he answered. “That’s what they said, ‘They got sick here.’ I can’t dispute that what they say.

But the patrons aren’t the only ones saying it. So are scientists at the Monroe County Department of Health who investigate the source of foodborne illness. They say at last year’s Thanksgiving buffet Golden Ponds served up turkey with a side dish of Clostridium perfringens – a dangerous bacteria that inspectors say was likely in gravy held at unsafe temperatures. Two hundred and sixty people suffered serious symptoms from bloody diarrhea to cramping resulting in hospitalizations for some.

“The most difficult case we had a woman who had her colon removed and is going to spend the rest of her life with a colostomy bag,” said Paul Nunes, an attorney for dozens of plaintiffs suing the restaurant.

In his lawsuits, Nunes points to the Monroe County Health Department’s inspection reports which lists mold on the floor of the walk-in refrigerator, heavily rusted shelving in that same refrigerator, a walk-in freezer that didn’t close tightly, mouse droppings, and a kitchen area that inspectors said was quote “in very poor sanitary condition.”

“If you’re sloppy in one thing, you’re sloppy in another thing,” said Nunes. “It’s a modus operandi. This is how they ran the restaurant.”

That’s an allegation Rinaudo denied during News10NBC’s tour of the now closed Golden Ponds. Everything is now for sale from the stove to the ovens still marked with the signs of heavy use. Asked if the auction would get him out of debt he said, “No, no, nothing. Selling this building wouldn’t get me out of debt.”

The Good, Bad, and Ugly Texas edition

An audit investigation of the Austin Public Health Department reveals inspectors napping, shopping, and taking extended breaks. Unfortunately things like this happen and without proper management and effective leadership, things like this will continue to happen.
Disappointing when the actions of a few inspectors tarnish the reputation of others who actually take pride in the work they do and have an ethical, moral backbone. When I first started as an inspector, I recall hearing a number of stories of bribery on the job and other ridiculous things. Like any profession, you have the good, bad, and ugly.

David Barer of KXAN writes
Austin Public Health’s Environmental Services Division, which conducts restaurant inspections among other duties, “wasted city resources as a result of grossly inefficient practices and procedures,” according to the audit.
Auditors also found three environmental health officers wasted time while on the city clock, and two “may have attempted to conceal their misuses on their inspection reports.”
Environmental health officers spend a majority of their time in the field with “limited oversight,” according to the report. Inspectors had no set list of daily inspections; rather, inspectors chose to inspect whichever restaurant was due, and officers were not required to notify supervisors ahead of inspections or check in before or after they were conducted, auditors found.
Investigators said they found several instances of officers saying their inspections took place at times that did not square with what the auditors observed.
According to the report, supervisors were only conducting a “supervisory audit,” which is an in-person check of an officer’s inspection, on less than two percent of inspections. Despite concerns about officers wasting time, management did not regularly review or question how time was being used in the field.
· KXAN Investigation: Restaurant inspectors weren’t meeting inspection-rate standards.
Audit office investigators followed three environmental health officers inspectors during their daily routine and found inspectors napping, shopping and exercising, according to the report.
Investigators found one environmental health officer working out at a local gym for an hour and a half to two hours on at least two separate days. She also left work an hour early on one occasion. She “also may have attempted to conceal the misuse by misrepresenting the time in and out on her written inspection reports,” the audit states.
Another employee was observed napping in her car and misrepresented the times she went in and came out of a restaurant inspection, auditors said.

The rest of the story can be found here:
http://kxan.com/2017/09/01/audit-finds-austin-restaurant-inspectors-shopping-napping-while-on-the-job/

 

Everyone’s got a camera: Carl’s Jr. in Alberta outed by former manager

The co-franchisee of a Carl’s Jr. in central Alberta was, according to Carolyn Dunn of CBC News, temporarily barred from his own restaurant’s kitchen after a host of unhygienic behaviours that even “shocked” a public health inspector. 

Jack Webb was captured on in-store security video at the Red Deer restaurant without gloves, forearm deep in a large container, mixing a batch of barbecue sauce for Carl’s Jr. burgers. 

That was the first of no fewer than 10 food safety violations caught on video, which was exclusively obtained by CBC News. 

Andrew Minnes, the former manager of the restaurant, blew the whistle on Webb to health authorities and CBC. 

“I’ve never seen anything like this. If he wasn’t an owner, he would have been fired instantly. There wouldn’t even have been a debate,” Minnes told CBC News from his home in Airdrie, Alta.

Minnes says it was conscientious kitchen staff who initially alerted him to the “gross” infractions. 

He says he approached Webb about the complaints.

“His reaction was, ‘I’m the owner’ and then ‘Too bad.’  He made it clear to the staff as well that they don’t say anything, ‘Don’t talk about what I’m doing, I do what I feel like doing.'”

So Minnes began playing undercover detective in the restaurant he managed until May 2017, recording the screen of the CCTV that overlooked the kitchen. 

Minnes says he never planned to take the footage public — he just wanted to show it to the other co-franchisee so the issue would be addressed.

“He just ignored me. He didn’t want to deal with it. ‘Complicit,’ I guess is the word.”

Minnes had surreptitiously captured 10 videos of serious food safety regulation infractions on his cellphone. 

During the barbecue sauce mixing video, a staffer goes as far as offering Webb a spoon — which his boss refuses and continues mixing with his hand and forearm, before scraping the accumulated barbecue sauce off his arm back into the container.

Domenic Pedulla, the CEO at the Canada Food Safety Group, shook his head while watching the video clips. “Bare hand contact with ready to eat food is not OK. This is where we want to use tongs, gloves.”

Webb didn’t use tongs or gloves in any of the videos. 

CBC News approached Webb for comment at his Red Deer restaurant. He asked us to wait for an interview for several hours.

“We’re going to give a response,” Webb assured the CBC.

In the end, the response came via a statement from Carl’s Jr. Canada, which said it found out about the infractions in April and the video earlier this month. 

The popular U.S. fast food restaurant, which has been trying to expand its franchise footprint in Canada since 2011 called the “improper food handling behaviour … unacceptable and (that it) in no way, represents Carl’s Jr.’s commitment to safe food handling.” 

Carly McKinnon, who owns the Press’d The Sandwich Company franchise next to Carl’s Jr., told Paul Cowley of the Red Deer Advocate she used the CBC-obtained video showing food safety violations at Carl’s as a training exercise.

“I showed it. (I said) this is what happens. People are always watching,” said McKinnon, who also owns a Press’d franchise in Leduc.

“I’m sharing it with my staff. I just want to make sure they’re stepping it up.”

McKinnon said new employees are always given extensive training in food safety before they begin their jobs.

 

Health inspections are not easy

The field of public health inspection is not easy; it is a difficult job, yet gratifying. I remember inspecting restaurants that were notorious for non-compliance and trying to work with them to improve their food safety behaviors. I believed in quality inspections and not quantity as health inspections are essentially a snap shot in time and I wanted to make a difference.

Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t and it is frustrated when you feel like you haven’t made a difference. So I get the ideology of fines as a method to increase compliance.
But do fines actually work or is it the cost of doing business for some operators? What will the establishment look like in a month or two, did we influence change or not? I have done this in the past where I charged a facility for a number of significant non-conformance’s and they subsequently cleaned up, but a month later, they regressed to the same state that I initially found them. Our department did not have a risk-based approach at that time and so the operator wasn’t expecting me for another year…surprise…

It is all about behavior and behavior change.

The owner of an East Tilbury sandwich bar has been slapped with a fine of almost two-and-a-half thousand pounds.
The owner of Nancy’s Sandwich Bar has been ordered to pay £2,353 for failure to comply with food safety legislation.
Daniel Wood appeared at Basildon Magistrates on Monday July 24, 2017 and pleaded guilty to 11 food hygiene offences, following a visit by Thurrock Council’s food safety team in September last year.
Inspectors visited the premises and found a makeshift kitchen had been set up in a room previously used for storage without consideration to food hygiene or public safety.
As a result, the food outlet was rated with a ‘1’ on the Food Standards Agency’s food hygiene rating scheme.
But the owner has since made improvements and the bar’s rating has gone up to ‘4’.
The bar was fined £1,230 and ordered to pay £1,000 costs and £123 victim surcharge.
Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods, Cllr Sue MacPherson said: “During the visit, the premises and equipment were found in a filthy condition, but I am pleased to see that improvements have since been made.”