Fancy food ain’t safe food: Norovirus sickens 49 at glitzy Ginza eatery Bvlgari in Tokyo

A luxury restaurant in the posh Ginza district in Tokyo’s Chuo Ward has been hit by food poisoning caused by norovirus with 49 people showing symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said Tuesday.

la-cuccina-di-luca-fantin-bvlgari-food-book9The affected people were among 138 participants in a stand-up party held at Bvlgari Il Ristorante Luca Fantin on Dec. 11, and their symptoms appeared on Dec. 12-13, according to the metropolitan government.

The ward ordered the restaurant to suspend its business for three days from Tuesday, though it has already been closed since Friday.

This was the second norovirus poisoning case at the restaurant after one in March 2010.

Fancy food ain’t safe food Denmark edition: Country’s only three-star restaurant fined £2,300 for hygiene breaches

Denmark’s only three-star Michelin restaurant on Thursday faced questions over hygiene after it was fined 20,000 kroner (£2,300) by the country’s food safety authority.

restaurant-geranium-iiGeranium, the first eatery in Denmark to receive top Michelin honours, had been storing fresh shellfish such as oysters, crayfish and scallops in temperatures that were too warm and over an extended period, the Danish Food Administration wrote after an inspection.

Two walk-in coolers also had “black, green and white splotches growing on the underside of shelves and on packaged pickled garlic”, according to a report dated 29 September but picked up by Danish media only on Thursday.

The regulator awarded the Copenhagen restaurant – which charges 2,000 kroner for a meal without drinks – a frowning “smiley,” the lowest grade of its four-tier system.

Geranium chef Rasmus Kofoed told Danish news agency Ritzau: “I do not agree with what is written. I believe that it is greatly exaggerated but I admit that there are some parts of the process where perhaps we have been a bit unattentive.”

geranium-denmarkLess talk, more action.

The restaurant had been using a computerized system to monitor food temperatures incorrectly, but fish and shellfish were always stored on ice regardless of the surrounding temperature, he added.

This year the Nordic edition of the Michelin Guide gave three stars to Geranium, but only two to Copenhagen’s celebrated Noma, which was named best restaurant in the world by Britain’s Restaurant magazine in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014.

Noma too faced criticism from the Danish food safety regulator in 2013, when it was accused of not taking adequate action after a sick kitchen worker gave dozens of customers food poisoning.

The gift that keeps on giving.


Fancy food not safe food; Sally Jackson Cheese recalled, 8 sick with E. coli O157:H7

It’s the phrase every food safety type has heard; experienced investigators will convey their disdain with a wry smile, rather than the full eye-rolling and gnashing of rookie teeth: “I’ve been making cheese (substitute your favorite food) this way for 30 years and I’ve never made anyone sick.

That’s the line Oroville, Washington, farmer Sally Jackson told a state inspector a few weeks ago as preliminary evidence linked Sally’s cheese to an E. coli O157:H7 outbreak.

The Seattle Times reports this morning that over the past week, Jackson learned that eight cases of E. coli illness are likely linked with her products. On Friday, she announced a recall and is cooperating with government agencies.

It is the second time in two months that an artisan cheesemaker in Washington was connected with a bacteria that causes foodborne illnesses, though the reaction of the two cheesemakers could not have been more different.

Inspectors found Listeria monocytogenes in cheese made by the Estrella Family Creamery, and also repeatedly identified the bacteria in swabs of its Montesano facility, yet that Grays Harbor County dairy refused a request to recall its product. In October, the Food and Drug Administration obtained a court order forcing it to shut down. The creamery is battling the court action.

To her credit, Jackson said, "I do not want to be associated with their fight. The bottom line is, I don’t want to make anybody else sick."

Four cases of E. coli O157 came to the state Health Department’s attention in the fall, including the case of one woman who was briefly hospitalized. Laboratory tests confirmed the four were linked to each other. Four additional E. coli cases in Oregon, Minnesota and Vermont also were linked to the Washington outbreak via laboratory tests.

According to the state Department of Agriculture, one unopened cheese wheel tested positive for E. coli. Investigators are awaiting the results from additional lab tests that will compare the strain of E. coli from the illnesses with that found in the cheese.

For years, Jackson operated with few problems, however in the last year, inspectors have noted several violations at her facility, including finding that she did not sanitize equipment after use. She has worked to fix the problems.

She and a part-time helper milk 40 sheep, 12 goats and a cow named Renata. They sell to high-end restaurants, as well as retail stores across the country, and the cheeses are distinctively wrapped in grape leaves from neighbors’ farms.

Over the years, her products have been served in most Seattle fine-dining establishments, including Douglas’ Palace Kitchen. Gourmets rave about the quality, so news of the problem and the listeria issue at Estrella came as a shock.

Get over it. Fancy food doesn’t mean safe food.