UK pub kitchen shut after 62 diners report vomiting and diarrhea: Somerset

A day after The Morning Advertiser in Somerset, U.K. said with a straight face that only a few local restaurants had received a zero rating from the U.K. Food Standards Authority, a local pub has closed after at least 62 diners reported vomiting and diarrhea.

The Old Farmhouse in Nailsea, north Somerset, which is operated by Hall & Woodhouse and did not, apparently, receive a zero, will keep its kitchen shut while investigations from North Somerset Council and Public Health England (PHE) continue.


Vietnamese sandwich downs more than 300 in Bataan

More than 300 people were treated for suspected food poisoning after they ate Banh Mi, a Vietnamese sandwich.

Morong municipal health officer, Dr. Emma Bugay, said Friday that 160 were admitted to the municipal health center while 160 others were treated in dispensaries.

“They were vomiting and experiencing diarrhea. All of them ate Banh Mi. Some victims who came from remote areas were feeling so weak,” the doctor said.

Banh Mi, Vietnamese for bread, consists of a baguette with tomato, cucumber, onion, homemade liver, pork and butter, among others. It is Vietnam’s most recognized food after “pho”.

Bugay said Morong is noted for the sandwich and not only visitors but even local folks patronize the stores selling it.

Morong Mayor Cynthia Estanislao ordered the closure of Banh-Mian ni Raven, a store near the municipal hall, where all the victims bought the sandwich from, while an investigation was ongoing.

Attempt by the Philippine News Agency (PNA) to contact the owners in their house in Morong failed.

Bugay, however, said that according to the store owner, the 300 sandwiches they prepared for the day were all sold out.

She said Banh Mi is big and is often shared by two persons so she estimated that not only 300 persons were affected.

Les Bubbles kitchen in Brisbane ça craint

A customer dobbed (that’s Australian for, to inform against someone) a popular Brisbane restaurant Les Bubbles to food safety authorities after a rat scurried past her during the dinner rush, a court has been told.

Melanie Petrinec of the Courier Mail reports embattled restaurateur Damian Griffiths was today fined $3000 and company Limes Properties Pty Ltd was fined $30,000 after pleading guilty to breaches of food standards.

Griffiths was overseas when the case was mentioned in the Brisbane Magistrates Court last week, and did not appear in person.

Instead, his lawyer made submissions in writing to the court to say Griffiths was “simply unaware of what was going on” at his former restaurant when the rat was discovered in October, 2016.

Les Bubbles is now under new management and a spokesperson says all checks and pest inspections were now up to date.

Brisbane City Council prosecutor Andrea Lopez said it was irrelevant if he was aware or not, and revealed it was a customer who raised the alarm with authorities.

“A live rodent during a busy dinner rush has actually run across the room in the restaurant,” she said.

“The rodent has been quite comfortable in the food business.”

Subsequently, food safety inspectors claimed to find dirty equipment and rodent droppings in multiple areas including under the kitchen bench, under a downstairs bar and near the dishwashing area.

Ms Lopez said the rat droppings indicated “quite a large presence of rodent activity”.

Fancy food ain’t safe food: Brisbane chef Matt Moran’s swanky restaurant is shut down

One of the best features of Brisbane is the river – except when it floods – and many a chef has set up digs along its shores.

I’d never heard of Matt Moran but am told he made his name with a restaurant at (or around) the Sydney Opera House.

But it’s still an old tale, as health inspectors swooped in on Moran’s Riverbar & Kitchen earlier this week and ordered closed.

According to a spokesthingy, the Eagle Street Pier eatery was shut “due to some issues with its food business licence.’

“A recent council inspection found some deficiencies in our food handling processes which are being addressed as a matter of urgency. …

“It is important to appreciate that there have been no identified adverse consequences for any patrons. This is simply a situation where we should have done better.”

Some call it, prevention.

In an industry rife with substance abuse, restaurant workers help their own

The manager of a Little Caesars Pizza in Shelbyville, Indiana, and her boyfriend have been arrested for allegedly using and buying drugs during work. According to police, Sasha Fletcher and Joshua Parson were taken into custody after an anonymous source told the feds the couple was regularly using heroin in the restaurant and preparing food with open sores.

The arrest underscores the well-known problem of drug and alcohol use and abuse in American restaurants.

Tove Danovich of NPR reports that while alcohol is eschewed in most places of employment, it’s a constant in restaurants. And the late night culture means that most socializing happens at bars after work hours. “We’re an industry that’s a little bit different,” says Mickey Bakst, general manager of Charleston Grill in South Carolina. But this also means restaurant employees are at serious risk for problems with substance abuse.

In 2016, after Charleston chef Ben Murray committed suicide after struggling with addiction and depression, Bakst and restaurateur Steve Palmer decided to start a support group of sorts to keep it from happening again.

Ben’s Friends, as the organization is called, now has Sunday meetings in three cities in South Carolina and Georgia. Bakst describes the meetings as “open-ended, gut wrenching at times, discussions about the difficulties of working in the industry.” They might talk about what to do when you’re in recovery and at work in the kitchen and the restaurant is packed, your chef is screaming. “You’re doing everything you can to stay sober but the stress level is through the roof.”

It’s kind of like AA, but tailored to the restaurant business — their only requirement is that attendees have a desire to overcome their addiction.

“You need someone who gets that, and understands the specific pressure of being surrounded by alcohol and revelry and drugs all the time,” says Kat Kinsman, senior food and drinks editor for Extra Crispy. In 2016, Kinsman also founded Chefs with Issues, a resource dedicated to de-stigmatizing mental health issues in the industry by providing a safe space for restaurant workers to share information and discuss their problems.

She has been open about her own experiences with depression and anxiety and wrote a book called Hi, Anxiety. She frequently had chefs confide in her about their own struggles and wanted to create a forum to publicize how rampant addiction, mental illness, and other issues are for people in the restaurant industry.

According to a 2015 study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the food service and hospitality industry has the highest rates of substance use disorders and third-highest rates of heavy-alcohol use of all employment sectors.

Is writing still #1?

‘No effluent on streets for several days’ 34 sick in Barbados gastro outbreak blamed on foodborne disease at business

The Jamaica Observer reports the Ministry of Health said it had conducted an epidemiological investigation into “a localised, food-borne disease outbreak at a specific food business” and that it was continuing to focus its resources on the south coast as it sought to contain any threat to public health as a result of the sewage spills in the area.

In a statement, the Ministry of Health reported that no new cases of gastroenteritis had been reported since January 3 this year, and that following the epidemiological investigation, 34 cases met the criteria for the gastroenteritis outbreak investigation.

“No other clusters of similar illness were reported from elsewhere in the area of the sewage spill. No organisms were identified through laboratory testing. Therefore, the outbreak has not been linked to any particular food or beverage, or the sewage spill,” the statement noted.

The authorities say they have been dealing with the sewage spill that has severely affected the island’s south coast and restaurants and other food outlets impacted by the more than year-long sewage crisis are being told they should not feel pressured to shut down, as the temporary fixes implemented by the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) seem to be holding for the time being.

How should restaurants be inspected in Italy?

The purpose of this study was to elaborate a checklist with an inspection scoring system at national level in order to assess compliance with sanitary hygiene requirements of food services.

The inspection scoring system was elaborated taking into account the guidelines drawn up by NYC Department of Food Safety and Mental Hygiene. Moreover the checklist was used simultaneously with the standard inspection protocol adopted by Servizio Igiene Alimenti Nutrizione (Servizio Igiene Alimenti Nutrizione – Ss. I.A.N) and defined by D.G.R 6 March 2017 – n. X/6299 Lombardy Region. Ss. I.A.N protocol consists of a qualitative response according to which we have generated a new protocol with three different grading: A, B and C.

The designed checklist was divided into 17 sections. Each section corresponds to prerequisites to be verified during the inspection. Every section includes the type of conformity to check and the type of violation: critical or general. Moreover, the failure to respect the expected compliance generates 4 severity levels that correspond to score classes.

A total of 7 food services were checked with the two different inspection methods. The checklist results generated a food safety score for each food service that ranged from 0.0 (no flaws observed) to 187.2, and generates three grading class: A (0.0-28.0); B (29.0 – 70.0) and C (>71.00). The results from the Ss. I. A. N grading method and the checklist show positive correlation (r=0.94, P>0.01) suggesting that the methods are comparable. Moreover, our scoring checklist is an easy and unique method compared to standard and allows also managers to perform effective surveillance programs in food service

Food safety in food services in Lombardy: proposal for an inspection-scoring model, 2017

Italian Journal of Food Safety vol. 6:6915

Claudia Balzaretti, Katia Razzini, Silvia Ziviani, Sabrina Ratti, Vexna Millicevic, Luca Chiesa, Sara Panseri, Marta Castrica


Arrogance only goes so far: Italian restaurant faces food safety fines

The restaurant in Venice which hit the headlines after charging four diners around €1100 (NZ$1800) for four steaks, fried seafood, a bottle of wine and water, is making the news again.

Osteria da Luca near St Mark’s Square is facing potential fines of €20,000 ($33,897) for breaches of health and safety, and food hygiene regulations, reports The Guardian.

It also faces other infringements including issues over the accurate description of goods.

The La Nuova Venezia newspaper said the investigation could “produce total fines running into tens of thousands of euros”.

The Mayor of Venice Luigi Brugnaro hit out at the eaterie after the €1100 bill was doled out to the Japanese tourists.

“If this shameful event is confirmed, we’ll do everything we can to punish those responsible,” he said on Twitter.

The restaurant has a rating of 1.5 stars on Tripadvisor.

Venice, one of the world’s most popular tourist cities, has a reputation for brazenly overcharging its visitors.

Fancy food ain’t safe food: UK-steak-house edition (Jamie Oliver is a food-safety idiot) and quinoa ain’t steak

Ruki Sayid of the Mirror writes the meat supplier behind Wetherspoon’s sudden move to axe steak for its Steak Club menu is at the centre of a food hygiene investigation.

The Food Standards Agency revealed Russell Hume’s sites have been inspected and products recalled after allegations it was in “serious non-compliance with food hygiene regulations.”

The firm has previously supplied meat for Jamie Oliver’s restaurants, but bosses today confirmed that they switched suppliers as soon as they became aware of problems.

Following a tip, the FSA carried out a spot check on the firm’s Birmingham site and then sent teams to other locations which also failed to meet regulations.

The FSA said: “There is no indication that people have become ill from eating meat supplied by Russell Hume.

“However, we are concerned about the poor practices in place at their premises so that is why we have taken proportionate action to ensure no meat can leave their sites at present.

“We are continuing to assess the situation.”

Customers were up in arms when Wetherspoon scrapped steak from its menu without warning at its 900 pubs.

The decision meant servings of the Aberdeen Angus rump steak, sirloin steak and gammon were unavailable to order as customers were reportedly offered quinoa and halloumi salad alternatives instead.

One furious diner told how he stormed out of a branch in Scarborough when he learned of the Steak Club shortcomings.

James Jarvis, 27, told The Sun : “One of their suggestions was a quinoa salad with grilled halloumi. I came in for a steak — not a poncey salad!”

While Michael Rousell, 62, who visited a Wetherspoon in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, told the newspaper: “I can’t believe a multi- million pound organisation like Wetherspoon can’t sort this out ­— it beggars belief.”

A notice apparently pictured at one pub read: “Due to a supplier failure, the following meals are unavailable: 8oz and 14oz Aberdeen Angus rump steak, 8oz sirloin steak, 5oz and 10z gammon.”

Restaurant inspection disclosure: Should apply to supermarkers, cafeterias, anywhere food is served

John Cropley of the Daily Gazette writes that state regulators have rolled out a new letter-based grading system for food safety at hundreds of stores across New York state.

Supermarkets and other food retailers must prominently display the rating given to them by the state Department of Agriculture and Markets after inspections by the department’s Division of Food Safety and Inspection. The ratings, and their meanings, are:

A — No critical deficiencies found, store is in substantial compliance with rules. 

B — Critical deficiencies (those creating a risk of foodborne illness) were found but were corrected at time of inspection. 

C — Critical deficiencies were found but were not or could not be corrected. 

The new rule took effect Jan 1. The department requires that the notice of inspection be posted in plain sight near each public entrance to a store; retailer face a $600 fine if they fail to comply. 

Customers can also request their own copies of the inspection notice.

The department said the grades will help customers better understand the sanitary conditions in stores and provide store owners with an educational opportunity.

Agriculture and Markets made the change after meeting with stakeholders, including the Food Industry Alliance of New York State, which has 800 corporate members ranging from supermarkets and convenience stores to wholesalers and cooperatives.

Three major Capital Region food retailers: Price Chopper/Market 32, Hannaford and Stewart’s Shops, all support the new requirements.

Mona Golub, spokeswoman for Price Chopper and Market 32 parent Golub Corp., said it’s a small expansion of existing rules. Supermarkets already were inspected and already were posting the cover page of the inspection reports — behind the customer service counter, in Golub’s case.

The only change is the letter rating, she said, and Golub Corp. endorses it because it will increase customers’ understanding of sanitary conditions in stores.

“We fully support ratings and designations that inform customers of our high food-safety standards,” Golub said.