Popular sandwich shop in Bradenton cited for roach activity

I spoke with my friend Gary this a.m., and told him once again how much I appreciated him throwing a few bucks my way while I actually tried to think about food safety issues.

He asked if I was going to the International Association for Food Protection meeting in Tampa this year.

I said, nah, I’m not a prof, no funding, although it would be fun to catch up with everyone, and stay at Anna Maria Island once again, about 90 minutes from Tampa.

We live in Brisbane, we’re used to Florida in the summer.

But the surrounding restaurants sorta suck.

The Wicked Taco Cantina, 101 7th St. N., Bradenton Beach, was cited on May 24 for holding cold food at temperatures above 41 degrees, including pico de gallo, guacamole and sour cream. The establishment also was cited for improper hand washing procedures. Per the report: “Server handled soiled dishes or utensils and then picked up plated food, served food, or prepared a beverage without washing hands. Observed employee handle dirty dishes from customers table, then prepare a personal beverage at soda machine. Observed employee use ice scoop. No hand washing observed. Observed server handle dirty dishes from customers table, sweep floor then make a customer’s beverage. No hand washing observed.”

The hand-washing violation was again noted on an inspection two days later. In the May 26 inspection report, the inspector said corrective action was taken.

On Thursday, inspectors visited The Beach House, 200 N. Gulf Drive, Bradenton Beach, to check on a violation they cited the restaurant for during a May 19 inspection: “Potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food cold held at greater than 41 degrees Fahrenheit,” per the report. Items in the cooler included dairy mix, raw shrimp and tomato sauce. Similar issues were observed with other coolers in the restaurant. The inspectors noted that corrective action was taken on the same day.

To search for restaurants and inspections, visit dine.bradenton.com.

Bradenton, you can do better.

Especially if you’re going to have a few thousand food safety folks hanging around.

 

But do they have the same suppliers? Salmonella strikes 8 at 2 Boston restaurants

Restaurants that run a clean business and take pride in food safety should brag about it.

But food safety extends to suppliers.

(And I love the Chipotle ref in the clip: “Sure it happens, but I’ll go back.”)

Michael Rosenfield of NBC Boston reports that testing is taking place on all employees at two Boston restaurants as health officials try to figure out if one of the workers may be the cause of the salmonella outbreak that has sickened eight people.

Health officials say the common link in each of the eight cases is two restaurants that are both in the same office building in the Back Bay, Café Med and Back Bay Sandwich.

Four people got sick after eating at Café Med, two after eating at Back Bay Sandwich, and two other customers ate at both, according to the Boston Public Health Commission.

Inspectors found numerous code violations at both eateries, prompting the city to shut down the businesses temporarily.

“We have always addressed primary inspection violations, and always passed the follow-up inspection,” the owner of Back Bay Sandwich said in a statement. “We have always prided ourselves on the cleanliness of the business, and I look forward to working with the city to improve on all aspects.”

Despite being in the same building, both restaurants have separate staffs and kitchens.

Do the two restaurants have common suppliers? And what are those ingredients that may harbor Salmonella?

Food inspector in the house: Petting zoo, sushi and school fete

Grey nomading is a term I never heard until I came to Australia.

Same with fete.

A grey nomad is “a retired person who travels independently and for an extended period within their own country, particularly in a caravan or motor home.”

My retired friend Rod, previously with the New South Wales Food Authority, and his wife Alison were grey nomading by BrisVegas on Sunday, so I took them to Sorenne’s school fete, featuring a petting zoo, homemade foods and a host of microbiological hazards.

As we passed the sushi stall, we looked at each other and silently shook our heads, no.

Darcy Spears of KTNV in Nevada reports, the annual River Run, which brings tens of thousands of people to Laughlin from Las Vegas and elsewhere, a Laughlin sushi bar will be recovering from a 33-demerit C grade.

The sushi bar at Minato Japanese and Korean restaurant on South Casino Drive in Laughlin is back on Dirty Dining for the second time.

Darcy: And we’d just like to get your side of the story from whoever is in charge.

Person in charge: Um, sorry, right now we’re not available for that.

Darcy: You’re not available? But you’re standing right in front of me. You look available.

Person in charge: I mean, you say you need a person in charge, right?

Darcy: Yes. And so of course if the restaurant’s open there has to be someone in charge on property.

Person in charge: Well, I’m in charge but you need someone probably a little higher than me for this kind of thing.

Darcy: If you need to call someone you can. We just want to make sure we give you guys the chance to tell customers why you guys happened to get the most demerits of all the inspected restaurants last week, and, a lot of stuff in here seems to indicate with temperature issues that the sushi could be potentially unsafe and we like to make sure you have the chance to comment on that.

Person in charge: Um, no thanks. I’ll decline.

Inspectors found sushi rice and shredded crab left out on the counter at unsafe temperatures. 

Ground mixed tuna and shrimp were also in the temperature danger zone.

There weren’t roaches running around or expired food, but there was a lot of issues with temperatures and handwashing and things that could spread foodborne illness.

Food safety is what happens when people pay attention.

 

These 675 people make your meals: Illinois man gets 18 months for food safety bribes

A Lynwood, Illinois man has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for accepting bribes in exchange for allowing students in his food safety training classes to bypass sanitation certification testing, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago.

Ernest Griffin, 71, was sentenced Wednesday and also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine, according to the office.

Griffin had pleaded guilty in March 2016 to one count of federal program bribery, according to court records.

His business, Food Safety Awareness, contracted with the Illinois Department of Public Health to offer food handling courses. Students needed to complete a 15-hour course and take an exam in order to receive sanitation certificates from the health department.

In exchange for bribes, Griffin submitted false certifications and false test results to the department, although prosecutors and Griffin’s lawyer disagreed on the total amount of bribes the man received, court documents show.

Prosecutors said that starting in at least 2008 and continuing through January 2015 Griffin received bribes from students, taking in a total of almost $152,000. His lawyer, in a filing, said that Griffin admitted to receiving more than $5,000 a year in bribes from 2010 through 2014.

The government said that Griffin’s bribery scheme ended only after he was confronted by FBI agents in January 2015.

The government contended that during that four-year period, about 675 students who hadn’t taken the required class or exam were given sanitation certificates.

Fancy food ain’t safe food: Trump’s Mar-a-Lago kitchen edition

While U.S. President Trump was describing the sensorial orgasm he shared with Chinese President Xi as he authorized missile strikes on a temporarily abandoned piece of concrete in Syria – “we had the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen” – the Miami Herald was unearthing food safety breaches at Mar-a-Lago, President Trump’s Palm Beach private club.

Inspectors found 13 violations at the fancy club’s kitchen, according to recently published reports — a record for an institution that charges $200,000 in initiation fees.

Three of the violations were deemed “high priority,” meaning that they could allow the presence of illness-causing bacteria on plates served in the dining room.

According to their latest visit to the club Jan. 26, state inspectors decided Mar-a-Lago’s kitchen did meet the minimum standards.

But they had a field day with elements that could give members of the high-class club and foreign dignitaries some pause:

▪ Fish designed to be served raw or undercooked, the inspection report reads, had not undergone proper parasite destruction. Kitchen staffers were ordered to cook the fish immediately or throw it out.

▪ In two of the club’s coolers, inspectors found that raw meats that should be stored at 41 degrees were much too warm and potentially dangerous: chicken was 49 degrees, duck clocked in a 50 degrees and raw beef was 50 degrees. The winner? Ham at 57 degrees.

▪ The club was cited for not maintaining the coolers in proper working order and was ordered to have them emptied immediately and repaired.

Mar-a-Lago General Manager Bernd Lembcke did not return calls for comment.

People are getting sick E. coli O157 outbreak at Boston’s Chicken & Rice Guys

Megan Woolhouse of the Boston Globe reports an E. coli O157 outbreak shuttered three locations of the Chicken & Rice Guys, as well as its fleet of Middle Eastern food trucks, Boston health inspectors said Tuesday.

The department confirmed seven cases of E. coli stemming from the Chicken & Rice Guys Allston location, which supplies food to the chain’s other outposts. The problems led to the temporary suspension of its operating license, Boston Inspectional Services Commissioner William Christopher Jr. said.

“We’re taking this very seriously,” Christopher said. “People are getting sick.”

He added that he did not know the condition of any of the people who were affected.

The company’s four food trucks, which rotate locations around Greater Boston, were taken off the road Tuesday afternoon, said Phanna Ky, general manager of the chain’s Medford restaurant, the only location that remained open Tuesday evening.

Christopher said Boston does not have jurisdiction over the Medford location.

Chicken & Rice Guys officials could not be reached.

According to Boston Inspectional Services, the city received an anonymous complaint and opened an investigation Tuesday. Public health officials remained at the Allston site throughout the afternoon trying to determine a specific source of the outbreak, Christopher said.

He added that the department will meet with the chain’s owner on Wednesday morning to discuss a course of action.

24-hour rule: Works in hockey and restaurant complaints

I often go off and prematurely hit send.

But through the contributions of more experienced coaches, I’ve come to appreciate the value of the 24-hour rule.

It means think about it, and is it really so important?

I had my first parents’ meeting of the new ice hockey season (because I have to say ice hockey in Australia) and stressed the 24-hour rule: Don’t talk to me during practice or games, don’t talk to me afterwards, give it 24 hours.

In turn, I will wait 24 hours until I say something.

Sure, this sounds like trivial maturity, but when adults and kids go to arenas, and put all that gear on, crazy things happen.

I’m the coach – and have put in the 40 hours of training, just like the 7 years of PhD training — and I am to be calm, like supervising PhD students who are freaking out.

According to Elizabeth Henson of The Advertiser, a top Adelaide restaurateur, embroiled in a fiery keyboard stoush with a customer he called “dimwitted”, says it’s time eateries “give as good as they get” when the butt of scathing online criticism.

Victory Hotel and Star of Greece owner Doug Govan let rip on Facebook after patron Jodie Clarke described the hotel as “rude and obnoxious” and “so unaccommodating” — and another, Emma-Jade Fowler, described “terrible customer service” after a booking mishap at the weekend.

Mr Govan branded Ms Fowler “dimwitted” and argued that businesses should be able to defend themselves on social media.

But disgruntled Ms Fowler described the attack as bullying behaviour and said the Sellicks Hill hotel’s response was shameful and “disgusting.”

Let’s just accept that we’re all dimwitted to varying degrees.

The Victory Hotel’s Facebook page was forced to temporarily shut down after Ms Clarke wrote about her experience at the hotel on Saturday night after the eatery was unable to accommodate her and her friends.

“You are rude, obnoxious and so unaccommodating,” she wrote on Facebook.

“We had a group booking of 17 people, yes 17 people, and every single one … has walked away disgusted.

 “And every single one of us will tell every person we know our story of your terrible service and unhelpful, rude staff. We will never be back.”

Ms Fowler wrote “terrible customer service, you should be ashamed Victory Hotel” in reference to the booking problem.

This comment elicited an outburst from Mr Govan, which he says he now regrets.

“Terribly dim-witted Emma-Jade not-sure-what-my-first-name-should-be Emma or Jade, don’t get involved in something you don’t know anything about,” he wrote.

“Imagine one of your friends told you the sun wasn’t going to come up tomorrow. Would you agree just because they were a stupid, dim-witted friend? No, you wouldn’t. If one of your friends said I went to a restaurant with 17 people and they couldn’t find my booking? Yes, if you were a dim-witted imbecile, yes, possibly.

“But if they told you the truth and said that they had screwed up their booking, maybe you wouldn’t be wasting your time writing crap. But maybe you just love seeing your name on social media.”

Ms Fowler fired back. “At the end of the day, this is bullying and it will be taken further,” she wrote.

“You should be ashamed of the way you have responded, it’s disgusting.”

The hotel shut down its Facebook page on Monday night after a barrage of comments from those involved, as well as others, were posted about the incident. It came back online yesterday and offered an apology “for any offensive comments made on Facebook”.

A link to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission complaints portal was included in the post.

Fancy food ain’t safe food: Salvatore’s Ristorante

A Merseyside, UK, restaurant owner has been fined hundreds of pounds after dead flies were found in pans of bolognese left out overnight.

Health inspectors who visited Salvatore’s Ristorante on Lord Street, Southport, which is rated #24 of 266 restaurants in Southport also found bird faeces in the extractor fan and out-of-date lasagne.

They also discovered utensils and fridge door seals encrusted in food debris and a large dead insect in a trifle.

Owner Salvatore Trecarichi, 66, of was today fined £750 by magistrates after pleading guilty to a string of food hygiene breaches.

South Sefton magistrates court was told council officers had visited the restaurant in June 2016 and found numerous hygiene issues. There was also no type of disinfectant product anywhere on the premises.

Trecarichi was given a 0 star hygiene rating and told to make improvements, but when inspectors returned a week later the bare minimum had been done.

Officers found areas were still unclean and greasy, with considerable damage to shelving and tiles.

On December 15, 2016 a further reinspection gave Salvatores a 3 star hygiene rating but when officers visited again on March 30 this year they were informed the business had changed its name.

Chipotle: Food safety idiots

Rather than focus on the things that make people barf – which Chipotle should know all about – they are now claiming it is the only national restaurant brand without added colors, flavors or preservatives on its entire menu.

l“We have always used high quality ingredients and prepared them using classic cooking techniques,” Steve Ells, Chipotle’s founder and CEO, said in a statement.

“We never resorted to using added colors or flavors like many other fast food companies do simply because these industrial additives often interfere with the taste of the food. However, commercially available tortillas, whether they are for us or someone else, use dough conditioners and preservatives.”

Chipotle now says it uses only local and organically grown produce as well as meats from animals raised without hormones or non-therapeutic antibiotics. None of the 51 ingredients in the restaurant’s foods have been genetically modified but the company still sells soft drinks that contain GMO-containing ingredients.

The company has even released a visual ingredient statement – allowing customers to see exactly what’s being used to create their Chipotle dishes. 

Good luck with that.

Like many other food safety types, I will continue to avoid. Chipotle’s emphasis on marketing bullshit – 21st century snake-oil — rather than safety shows how much they have jumped the shark.

If Chipotle thinks corn, or any of their other ingredients, isn’t genetically modified, then they’re drinking their own jello.

 

Duncan Hines: Cake mix king and road warrior who shaped restaurant history

This is an outstanding story by Nicole Jankowski, a freelance food, history and culture writer based in Detroit, who writes Duncan Hines, traveling salesman and future purveyor of boxed cake mix, considered himself an authority on a great many things: hot coffee, Kentucky country-cured ham and how to locate a tasty restaurant meal, in 1935, for under a dollar and a quarter.

In 1957, Duncan Hines and his wife, Clara, cut a cake at the Duncan Hines test kitchen in Ithaca, N.Y.

By the 1950s, Hines’ name would be plastered on boxes of cake mix; housewives would turn to his products for consistent quality and superior taste. Newspaper photographs featured Hines clad in a white chef’s apron, hoisting a neatly frosted cake or thoughtfully dipping a spoon into a mixing bowl.

But Duncan Hines wasn’t a chef — in truth, he could barely cook. For most of his career, he had just been a businessman, desperate for a decent meal on the road. Through his search for the best restaurants across America, he became an accidental gourmand, an unlikely author and homegrown connoisseur.

Although boxed cake mix is the legacy that most people now associate with Duncan Hines (only after asking, “Was he actually a real person?”) the supermarket foods that bear his name are only an epilogue to a storied life traveling America’s back roads.

It was really his book, Adventures in Good Eating, that first put Duncan Hines on the map. And it was his tireless pursuit of good food that inspired his book.

Hines’ appreciation for a good meal arose out of mere necessity. From the 1920s through the ’40s, he motored across the country hawking letter openers and paperclips and subsisting on unreliable road food. It was an era long before any formal restaurant rating system existed in the U.S. The names and locations of good restaurants were conveyed by word of mouth; for an out-of-town traveler, locating a decent supper was often a daunting and discouraging mission. And although Europe had relied on The Michelin Guide since 1900, middle America in the 1920s and ’30s was still a land of culinary mystery and inconsistency.

Desperate for a clean place to dine, Hines became an investigative epicurean and self-made restaurant critic. He carried a tiny journal in his coat pocket, jotting down the precise locations of his favorite places. No restaurant was off limits for the inquisitive Hines. “The kitchen is the first spot I inspect in an eating place,” he wrote. “More people will die from hit or miss eating than from hit and run driving,” he joked — though Hines clearly thought food safety was no laughing matter.

He frequently popped into the kitchen to scrutinize how staff handled food and then swung around back to investigate the restaurant’s garbage pile. He meticulously recorded the names of the most pristine diners, the inns with the tastiest prime roast beef, and where to find the stickiest honey buns. He appreciated regional cuisine, quickly discovering in which part of the country to brake for broiled lobster tail (New England) and where to stop for fried chicken (Kentucky).

Hines noted whether a restaurant had air conditioning, its hours of operation and its prices for breakfast, lunch and dinner. “His restaurant notes were extraordinarily accurate,” says Louis Hatchett, author of the book, Duncan Hines: How a Traveling Salesman Became the Most Trusted Name in Food. “As word spread among his family and friends, people were begging him to share the list he had created. There was nothing out there like it,” he says. “In 1935, sick of being pestered, he finally sent out a little blue pamphlet in his Christmas cards, containing a list of 167 restaurants across 33 states that he could safely recommend.”

Soon, Hines was receiving postcards from from salesmen, newlyweds and other travelers all over America seeking his recommendations for good, clean restaurants.

In 1936, at 55, Hines self-published his first edition of Adventures in Good Eatingand sold them for $1 each. It contained the names and locations of 475 restaurants from coast to coast that had Hines’ rigorous seal of approval. “The books were sold through word of mouth, but they quickly sold out. The following year he raised the guide’s price to $1.50 — and that’s where the price would stay for the next 25 years,” explains Hatchett.

“Recommended by Duncan Hines” became the gold standard in dining by the 1950s.

Two years before his death in March of 1959, the entire franchise was sold to Procter & Gamble.

Hines often said, “Nearly everyone wants at least one outstanding meal a day.” This seems as true now as it did a half-century ago. But long before Yelp or TripAdvisor offered restaurant reviews with the click of a button, Hines was doing it his own way, by traveling the highway with his pencil and notebook, changing the way America ate on the open road — one adventure at a time.