Vancouver Olympic temporary food operations cited for health violations

Canwest News Service reports that more than one-third of 424 food operations serving the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games in Richmond, Vancouver, at Cypress Bowl in West Vancouver, and Whistler did not fully meet health regulations, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority inspection reports show.

Of the 147 food operations not compliant in one or more aspects of their operations, 56, or 38 per cent, were specifically cited for "potentially hazardous food" concerns, including failure to thaw food properly and failure to maintain food at sufficiently low or high temperatures, a review by the Vancouver Sun has found.

The food operations include temporary facilities serving the public, athletes, media, dignitaries, volunteers and other workers, and can range from restaurant-style operations to smaller concessions and even beer vendors and hotdog stands.

Food service has been farmed out to caterers at the various Olympic venues that are not permanent sites.

Vancouver restaurants typically receive one visit annually from health inspectors. Olympic food venues were generally visited three times by inspectors in February alone, evidence of the extra measure of vigilance underway to guard against an outbreak of food-borne illness during the Games.

Domenic Losito, regional director of environmental health, said in an interview Tuesday, said,

"We’re keeping our fingers crossed that we get through without any adverse impact on people. So far, we seem to be on top of it."