Restaurant closed due to a cockroach infestation

I have always been curious to see what others thought on the following:
How many chances should the Health Department give a food service/retail establishment that has been chronically shut down before permanently having their business license rescinded?
I’m not talking about the minor violations that are encountered during a routine inspection, more of the deliberate critical infractions that can severely impact public health. As practicing food safety professionals, where do we draw the line? Inspections are a snap shop in time and food safety resonates upon behaviors for positive change. But what do we do with those select few places that simply don’t care and abide by the mentality that if I am fined, well it’s the cost of doing business? I’ve heard this and I’m sure others have as well. I would love to hear what Barfblog readers have to say regarding this matter.

A vile cockroach-infested restaurant has been shut down after revolting insects were discovered throughout the dilapidated building.
The pests were found hiding in the fridge door seal, preventing it from closing properly, and crawling around exposed foods, food containers and over kitchen surfaces.
Guildford Magistrates’ Court heard stomach-turning evidence of how owner Amjad Parvez Butt had been seen coughing over food, then failing to use soap when washing his hands.
Mr Butt was charged with seven counts of food safety and hygiene regulations contravention, all of which he pleaded guilty to.
Under routine inspection on June 27 last year, an environmental health officer from Rushmoor Borough Council visited the Lali Gurash Nepalese restaurant in Aldershot.
In the initial report, read to the court on Wednesday (February 14), the officer said: “When I arrived, I witnessed Mr Butt coughing while preparing food – he then washed his hands without using soap.”
The general first impression was that Mr Butt was not preparing food safely and an in depth inspection began.
After examining the fridge, it became apparent the door would not close properly due to a number of cockroaches living within the door seal.
The officer also noticed the building had structural damage, including a hole in the wall, through which clear daylight could be seen and gaps in the flooring near the waste pipes.
Further evidence of insect activity was discovered in the basement, around food preparation areas and in the proximity of exposed onions and potatoes.
During the inspection it also became apparent that Mr Butt had not been filling in the mandatory safer food, better business (SFBB) checks that RBC enforces, with the last entry filed more than five weeks prior to the visit.
The restaurant was closed and Mr Butt was ordered to arrange for a pest control team to install traps throughout the building.
A few days later, officers returned to discover a full life cycle of cockroaches in the traps, indicating that they had been present in the area for a minimum of six weeks.
Officers consistently monitored the progress of the restaurant until July 20, when, in the absence of any infestation, it was deemed acceptable for re-opening.
During the scheduled three-month re-visit, Mr Butt was asked to produce his SFBB documents, which he was unable to do, and the restaurant was once again closed.
In court, with the assistance of a translator, he explained that he was unable to read and write and claimed that his daughter was going to complete the checks for him but was away on holiday at the time.
The 53-year-old said: “When I first noticed the cockroaches I bought some spray and contacted pest control but they never got back to me.
“When I was told to close the restaurant and destroy the food, I did.
“I have lost a lot of profit and it is the first time this has happened – I ask for forgiveness.”

The rest of the story can be found here

Science, or poetry in motion: Modern pig inspection

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) today announced its continued effort to modernize inspection systems through science-based approaches to food safety. USDA is proposing to amend the federal meat inspection regulations to establish a new voluntary inspection system for market hog slaughter establishments called the New Swine Slaughter Inspection System (NSIS), while also requiring additional pathogen sampling for all swine slaughter establishments.

The proposed rule also allows innovation and flexibility to establishments that are slaughtering market hogs. Market hogs are uniform, healthy, young animals that can be slaughtered and processed in this modernized system more efficiently and effectively with enhanced process control.

For market hog establishments that opt into NSIS, the proposed rule would increase the number of offline USDA inspection tasks, while continuing 100% FSIS carcass-by-carcass inspection. These offline inspection tasks place inspectors in areas of the production process where they can perform critical tasks that have direct impact on food safety.

There will be a 60-day period for comment once the rule is published in the Federal Register.

To view the proposed rule and information on how to comment on the rule, visit the FSIS website at fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/regulations/federal-register/proposed-rules.

 

Audits and inspections are never enough: French inspectors missed Salmonella at baby milk plant

French food safety inspectors failed to detect salmonella contamination at a plant belonging to dairy giant Lactalis, three months before the company carried out a major recall of baby milk, a report said Wednesday.

Lactalis, one of the world’s largest producers of dairy products, discovered the bacteria at its factory in Craon, northwest France, during tests in August and November.

It did not however report the find to the authorities.

Officials from the food safety department carried out a routine inspection of the site in September and gave it a clean bill of health, the Canard Enchaine investigative weekly reported.

It was only three months later, after around 30 infants being fed Lactalis powdered milk fell sick, that the health ministry sounded the alarm.

Officials from the national anti-fraud bureau swooped on the site on December 2 and found the assembly line where liquid milk is transformed into formula to be contaminated.

Lactalis issued two major recalls covering all production from the site from February 15, blaming the contamination on renovation work.

The plant has been at a standstill since December 8.

Lactalis is under investigation over the affair.

It could face charges of causing involuntary injuries and endangering the lives of others.

Market food safety at retail so consumers can choose.

Audits and inspections are never enough: A critique to enhance food safety

30.aug.12

Food Control

D.A. Powell, S. Erdozain, C. Dodd, R. Costa, K. Morley, B.J. Chapman

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956713512004409?v=s5

Internal and external food safety audits are conducted to assess the safety and quality of food including on-farm production, manufacturing practices, sanitation, and hygiene. Some auditors are direct stakeholders that are employed by food establishments to conduct internal audits, while other auditors may represent the interests of a second-party purchaser or a third-party auditing agency. Some buyers conduct their own audits or additional testing, while some buyers trust the results of third-party audits or inspections. Third-party auditors, however, use various food safety audit standards and most do not have a vested interest in the products being sold. Audits are conducted under a proprietary standard, while food safety inspections are generally conducted within a legal framework. There have been many foodborne illness outbreaks linked to food processors that have passed third-party audits and inspections, raising questions about the utility of both. Supporters argue third-party audits are a way to ensure food safety in an era of dwindling economic resources. Critics contend that while external audits and inspections can be a valuable tool to help ensure safe food, such activities represent only a snapshot in time. This paper identifies limitations of food safety inspections and audits and provides recommendations for strengthening the system, based on developing a strong food safety culture, including risk-based verification steps, throughout the food safety system.

3 hospitalized after consuming camel meat in Kenya

George Kithuka of KBC reports that residents of Muruangai village in Samburu central are said to have feasted on the uninspected camel carcass that left them with serious symptoms of diarrhea and vomiting.

A mother and her two children are among residents of Muruangai village admitted to the Samburu county referral hospital for close monitoring.

According to a nurse at the facility, the patients were brought to the hospital complaining of severe diarrhea and vomiting.

The sub county disease surveillance coordinator says his office received a call that an entire village was complaining of similar symptoms and on arrival, it was established that residents had consumed uninspected meat.

Not the Sopranos: Police in Europe break up network selling illegal horse meat

Raphael Minder of The New York Times reports police in Europe have dismantled a criminal network that was selling horse meat across the Continent that was “not suitable for consumption,” arresting 66 people as part of a four-year investigation prompted by the discovery in Ireland of horse meat in burgers sold as beef.

Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, said on Sunday that all but one of the arrests had been made in Spain. But the Spanish police said in a separate statement that their part of the investigation had accounted for “a small portion of a network stretching across the whole of Europe, under the control of a Dutch citizen.”

The Dutch citizen, who has not been publicly identified and was taken into custody in April in Belgium, was described in a Europol statement as the leader of a criminal gang that had acquired horses on the Iberian Peninsula that were judged to be “in bad shape, too old or simply labeled as ‘not suitable for consumption.’ ”

The animals’ meat was processed and sent to Belgium, one of the European Union’s biggest exporters of horse meat, and the criminal organization modified the animals’ microchips and documentation to facilitate the fraudulent export, the statement said.

The Pan-European investigation began after a scandal over horse meat in burgers in Ireland in 2013, and it was widened to other European countries as dishes like frozen lasagna labeled as containing beef were found to have horse meat.

In addition to the arrests, the Spanish police said on Sunday that they had seized property and luxury cars, and that they had frozen bank accounts. The police in Britain, France, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Switzerland also carried out interventions, according to Europol, although the statement did not provide details.

Ron Doering: Of course I’m proud of CFIA, why isn’t the rest of Canada?

Doering writes: The 20th anniversary of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)  seems to have gone by unnoticed, even by the CFIA. Has it lived up to the original vision? Has it achieved its promise from 20 years ago?

Of course I‘m not an unbiased observer. In April, 1995 I was given the lead responsibility to carry out the consultation on how Canada should reorganize its food inspection and related activities. I put together the team to carry out the review.  We called ourselves the Office of Food Inspection Systems (OFIS). When we completed the consultation, we  recommended the most ambitious of the options reviewed–that the government should create a new independent legislated agency with the full regulatory authority for the whole food chain. Our Minister Ralph Goodale went to Cabinet in  the late fall of 1995 and the Chretien Government adopted our recommendation. OFIS was also given the lead to set it up and we got the historic legislation through in time to open the doors on April 1, 1997. Later I served as its President until I retired from the public service. 

Looking back on the original OFIS documents, the CFIA was created to meet five broad objectives. How well have these been met? 

Enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of federal food inspection and related services. The CFIA clearly met this goal. $44 million dollars were saved.  Overlap and duplication was reduced. Sixteen programs that had formerly been delivered by four different departments were brought under one roof. Consumers and industry now have one point of contact. 

Provide integrated governance of food safety, plant health and animal health. This was fully achieved.    We are still the only jurisdiction in the world that brings under one agency the whole food chain: feed, seeds, fertilizer, all food including fish as well as animal and plant health. The value of this integration has been widely recognized. For example, Canada managed the challenge of BSE better than most countries because senior officials in charge of animal health were also in charge of food safety. This integration also accounts for our fully integrated investigation and recall system led by the widely-respected Office of Food Safety and Recall (OFSR). Canadians now take this single point of contact for granted. Remember, for example, that in the US it is still the case that a vegetarian pizza is the responsibility of FDA but a pepperoni pizza falls under the jurisdiction of USDA etc.

Enhance international market access.  The CFIA has harmonized technical trade areas, negotiated many international equivalency agreements, challenged misuse of technical measures and played a major role in influencing international standards. Former OFIS member and afterwards CFIA Vice-President Peter Brackenridge has noted that “with the changing international trade environment, a single organization like the CFIA is well placed to manage the challenge of protectionism by the misuse of technical standards.”

Enhance Provincial and Federal regulatory harmonization.  Former OFIS member and afterwards CFIA Vice-President Cam Prince notes that this is one area where progress has not met our original expectations. This issue may take on increased impetus in light of the recently announced Canadian Free Trade Agreement but there continues to be major international trade law barriers to full intergovernmental harmonization.

Modernize Canadian Food Law. In 1999 the CFIA introduced  First Reading of Bill C-80 which would have provided a truly modernized legal basis for the regulation of food and related activities but it did not proceed for political reasons. With the current Safe Food for Canadians Act (and Regulations) now being completed, finally we will have a more modern legal foundation for the future, though not as integrated as the former Bill would have provided. 

With an annual budget of over $700 million and over 6,000 staff the CFIA is, by far, Canada’s largest science-based regulatory agency, respected within the federal system, by the provinces and admired around the world as a model. 

The CFIA has met most of our original expectations. While there have been bumps along the road, Canadians should be proud of the CFIA’s many achievements. Its anniversary should be celebrated.

Don’t like your inspection result? Change your restaurant’s ownership

It seems like a lot of work but NBC Bay Area reports there is a loophole in erasing inspection history – good and bad – change the ownership.

But a name change alone doesn’t change how the managers and staff address food safety.

“It’s not for me to make sense of it, it is what the law requires us to do,” said Stephanie Cushing, who heads the city’s restaurant inspection process as the Director of the San Francisco’s Department of Environmental Health.dohevhiomwpyri5adsqz

Cushing’s team of 30 field inspectors make daily checks at restaurants across the city to ensure they comply with health and safety codes, but she acknowledges those inspection reports are promptly removed from the city’s website once a restaurant files paperwork to indicate changes in ownership of the business, even if managers and employees remains largely the same.

Cushing’s team of inspectors are no strangers to a Chinese restaurant at 5238 Diamond Heights Boulevard. Even though the sign on the building says All Season, don’t expect to find that name anywhere on the city’s online database of restaurant inspection reports. A

ccording to city records, the business changed its name to Harbor Villa last year, as well as a change in ownership, which required the city to remove the inspection history for All Season restaurant from the city’s website.

While the restaurant listed new company officers in 2014, the Investigative Unit discovered that ownership was still under the same corporation.

Last year, the restaurant filed another change of ownership, and listed a new corporate name, but the two officers of that corporation stayed the same.

Even after the restaurant name change, Harbor Villa was forced to close on two more times for serious health and safety violations, including a cockroach infestation.

I dunno how many places go through the process and the paperwork of changing company officers and names, but it seems like managing food safety risks is probably easier. And better for business.

Testing gods’ food: Moving from faith-based food safety in India

The Food Safety and Standards Association of India (FSSAI) has said it intends to regulate public kitchens run by temple trusts in association with state regulators.

SiddhivinayakThe food regulator had approached the Siddhivinayak and Shirdi temple trusts in Maharashtra and found them open to the idea of scrutiny, said Pawan Agarwal, the chief executive officer of FSSAI.

“While temple trusts do get a licence from the FSSAI to run public kitchens, we are speaking of taking public health and safety to the next level by adhering to food safety standards. This calls for greater awareness and scrutiny, which we propose to do along with state food regulators.”

Sanjiv S Patil, executive officer of Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Temple Trust, said the regulator had surveyed the temple’s public kitchen two months ago and advised them on food safety standards. “We have joined hands with the FSSAI and the Association of Food Scientists & Technologists of India for standardisation and to maintain the quality of the prasadam we offer. We are committed to maintaining our quality standards.”

Nearly 100,000 devotees visit the Shree Siddhivinayak temple each day in Mumbai.

In Kerala, where the popular Sabarimala temple is located, food safety officers do checks at regular intervals to ensure the food served at the temple is safe.

bhogAn editorial in The Tribune says, only gods (note the plural, monotheism is sorta boring) know if they would like to taste FSSI-standardised bhog and prasad. The food regulator is hoping to ensure the “safety” of prasad distributed in temples and at other religious places. Its approach is secular, however.

According to the 2001 Census, India has 2.4 million places of worship, visited by approximately 300 million people every day. the FSSAI has already begun standardising prasad at famous temples like Shri Siddhivinayak temple (Mumbai), Sri Venkateswara Swamy temple (Tirupati) and Sai Baba temple (Shirdi), the fate of its crusade would rest with millions of bhakts. Will they like to have the food, supposedly partaken by the gods, after it is sullied in the name of sanitising and standardising by the FSSAI? 

Where faith is at work, even angels fear to tread! But the FSSAI assumes to straighten up complex socio-cultural issues. The organisation is in its infancy. Launched only in 2006, it has no judicial power to punish offenders.

4 Frendz recalls beef jerky products that may be undercooked

I don’t buy beef jerky.

I really don’t buy beef jerky from 4 Frendz who can’t spell.

beef.jerky.recall.may.16For those who do, this Clarkston, Wash. establishment, is recalling approximately 497 pounds of beef jerky products due to under-processing and potential survival of bacterial pathogens in the products.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) says the items were produced from Aug. 10, 2015 to April 11, 2016. The following products are subject to recall:   

3-oz. VACUUM-PACKED packages containing “SOUTHFORK SAUSAGE MESQUITE PEPPER JERKY.” 

3-oz. VACUUM-PACKED packages containing “SOUTHFORK SAUSAGE HONEY JERKY.” 

3-oz. VACUUM-PACKED packages containing “SOUTHFORK SAUSAGE MESQUITE JERKY.” 

3-oz. VACUUM-PACKED packages containing “SOUTHFORK SAUSAGE TERIYAKI JERKY.”

3-oz. VACUUM-PACKED packages containing “SOUTHFORK SAUSAGE HOT HONEY JERKY.”

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. M22017” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to retail locations in Idaho and Washington.                                

The problem was discovered during a comprehensive FSIS Food Safety Assessment (FSA) inspection performed in the establishment by an FSIS Enforcement Investigations and Analysis Officer.

There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider. 

2 dead, 30 sickened with Salmonella in 2015: Australian bakery will probably never pay fine

Shannon Tonkin of the Illawarra Mercury reports that the defunct Wollongong food company fined more than $60,000 in court last week will most likely never pay the penalty, with financial records obtained by the Mercury showing the business was $144,000 in the red at the time the offences occurred.

1462144920322-1Betta Maid was convicted of 10 charges under the NSW Food Act in Wollongong Local Court last week and fined a total of $63,000.

The court found the company was responsible for the spread of a rare strain of Salmonella through Illawarra Retirement Trust aged care homes on the South Coast and ACT between January and March 2015, resulting in the death of two residents.

Another 30 fell ill, with unhygienic food preparation surfaces, the presence of rodents (including feces), rusty equipment and unclean utensils to blame.

(I’d still like to know where the Salmnoella bovismorbificans came from. It’s commonly found in cattle and horses – dp).

Betta Maid was put under external management in early April after the matters came to light and has since been placed in the hands of a liquidator to be wound up.

Documents obtained through the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) show the company owed an estimated $212,000 to 34 different companies around the time of the outbreak, including $131,000 in unpaid taxes.

A summary of the business’ financial position, signed by then-director Udo Boschan, estimated the value of the company’s assets at only $68,000, leaving a shortfall of about $144,000.

Local businesses owed money include Hasties Toptaste Meats in Wollongong, radio station Wave Fm, Sydney and South Coast Food in Dapto and Cazmont Computers in Shellharbour.

However, the chance of any creditors recovering what is owed to them appears lost, with a more recent ASIC statement filed by the liquidator saying it did not expect any creditors to receive their money. It is understood this would also apply to the court fines.

betta.maid.bakeryMeantime, court documents have revealed Food Authority inspectors carried out a routine inspection of the Betta Maid facility at Unanderra two and a half months before the salmonella outbreak.

Several concerns and contraventions of food handling laws were identified at the time, including rust and significant damage to equipment, some of which was unclean.

The company was given a month to rectify the situation, however the outbreak occurred before a further inspection took place.

Inspections and audits are never enough.