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.


Did norovirus outbreak at Noma contribute to lost title as world’s best restaurant? Probably not

After struggling through a norovirus outbreak that sickened 67 people last month, Denmark’s Noma got some more bad news, relinguishing the title of world’s best restaurant to Spain’s El Celler de Can Roca

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list compiled for a 12th year by more nomathan 900 international experts for Britain’s Restaurant magazine.

In previous statements, inspectors from the Danish food ministry criticized the restaurant for not alerting authorities quickly enough and for failing to take adequate action after a kitchen worker fell sick, meaning that the illness spread to customers,while Noma blamed internal communication problems for failing to disinfect the kitchen quickly enough.

Noma and food pornographers struggle with notion sick people shouldn’t serve food

The best restaurant in the world, Denmark’s Noma, continues to struggle with some food safety basics.

In response to the sickening of at least 67 people who dined at the restaurant and the release of a report by Danish food types Fødevarestyrelsen, Noma came out with its own statement, offering to reimburse diners for the meal they upchucked and blaming the outbreak on Norochicka worker sick with norovirus, who magically didn’t have any symptoms.
And they’re really, really sorry.

Inspectors from the Danish food ministry criticized the restaurant for not alerting authorities quickly enough and for failing to take adequate action after the worker fell ill.

Noma blamed a delay in disinfecting the restaurant’s kitchen on internal communication problems.

Even when members of two separate dining parties complained by email, and one employee reported being ill after handling food, no measures were taken the next day.

Three immediate and obvious problems with the response from Noma.

“We received the first e-mail Thursday Feb 14.  We have staff and guests from all over the world and unfortunately there was a slight delay as the email was picked up initially by a non-Danish speaking member of the team and wasn’t responded to until Monday after the weekend service.”

For a virus with an incubation of a few hours, a delay in notification by some 90 hours is inexcusable.

Noma charges about  $275 for a meal – drinks extra – and they can’t find someone to check e-mail every waking minute? That’s what the best food service folks require, and me, and I’m just a professor who couldn’t begin to afford the food porn at Noma (nor would I want to).

“Noma is required to have at least one sink for washing hands in the kitchen. Noma has kitchens on two floors. On both floors noma has two sinks for washing hands. On the day it was tested, Wednesday Feb 20, three sinks worked to full satisfaction with very hot water, and the last one in the prep-kitchen was only lukewarm when tested. Noma’s reaction was to call a plumber immediately to fix the problem, and it was.”

Water temperature is irrelevant for the microbiological goals of handwashing. My guess is, handwashing has been lax.

“Noma has always had a strict policy for members of staff showing signs of sickness, and that is to send them home immediately and ask them to stay home for 48 hours even after they feel well.”

Heston-what’s-his-name who sickened 535 diners with norovirus in his fancy-pants restaurant tried the same we-have-a-manual argument. So did the folks at the Haaarvvaarrrrd Club. Is there any evidence that anyone follows the manual? Can Noma provide evidence that sick employees have stayed away from work? Or is it just a soundbite?

There have been hundreds of norovirus outbreaks involving sick workers and food over the past 20 years. Maple Leaf was really, really sorry after it nomakilled 23 people with Listeria in its deli-meats in 2008 in Canada. In so many of these cases, people forget to pay attention to the basics, but then want some sort of acknowledgement because they said sorry.

Not good enough.

And despite basic failings, Noma continued to receive adulations from Frank Bruni of  the New York Times today, who wrote a long-winded and thesaurus-aided column about food fraud.

“At the restaurant Noma in Copenhagen, the trailblazing and lavishly celebrated chef René Redzepi has been known to serve live ants. When I ate there nearly three years ago, he served me live shrimp. I managed to get down only one of them, and only after persuading myself that doing so was an act of honesty and proper responsibility: instead of having someone else kill my dinner out of view.”

These people have no concept of microbiology. Maybe Frank got lucky and the server didn’t have noro.

67 sick with noro; fancy food ain’t safe food, world’s greatest restaurant edition

At least 67 dinners were barfing after dining at the world’s so-called greatest restaurant, Noma, in Denmark.

Danish food types Fødevarestyrelsen criticised Noma for not disinfecting the kitchen in time in order to prevent the contagion from spreading and also norovirus-2said there was no hot water in the taps that staff used to wash their hands.

Water temp doesn’t matter when it comes to hand washing, but my guess is there was little handwashing to begin with.

From February 12-16, 2013, out of 78 guests served over the period, a total of 63 fell ill, which prompted Fødevarestyrelsen to make an inspection in which it found hygiene problems.

“There has been illness among staff who have handled the food products”, Fødevarestyrelsen wrote in its report. “The inspection visit was due to guests nomocomplaining of vomiting and diarrhea.”

The restaurant is aware of four additional people who have taken ill, which brings the total number of ill diners up to 67.

I like Danes; worked with two carpenters for five years, my sister lived there with her family for a couple of years; our daughter is named Sorenne. But just like Heston-what’s-his-name and his Fat Duck restaurant, where 535 people were sickened with norovirus in 2010, and like the Haaaaarrrrr-vard Club, food porn and profit trumps food safety. In all three outbreaks involving food for the fancy-pants set, the celebrity chefs were too damn dumb about norovirus to know how incredibly infectious it is. Worse, people get sick, but they keep going back, underwriting more porn and more idiocracy.

And in the lamest public excuse offered for some time, someone from Noma said, “We acknowledge that the internal procedures haven’t been good enough and because of busyness, employees didn’t check e- mails.”