Australian restaurant owner ignored cockroach issue because of vegetarianism

Dani was a vegetarian for a while; but she was pretty good at killing pests in the basement apartment we had in college. We collectively addressed a mouse problem with a mix of bait and traps and saved our pantry.

According to the Canberra Times, a vegetarian restaurant owner cited moral issues with “killing little insects” as a reason for a cockroach infestation.

Kingsland Vegetarian Restaurant was on Thursday fined $16,000 for eight food safety breaches.7372_10152201579715906_8614767365661662283_n

Kingsland Vegetarian Restaurant owner Khanh Hoang was originally charged with 12 breaches of the Food Act. He pleaded guilty to eight offences and appeared for sentence in the ACT

Court documents said the northside eatery – which specialises in vegetarian cuisine – had been granted an operation certificate in December 2012. Inspectors raided the restaurant four months later after a public tip-off to discover the breaches, which included a cockroach infestation, incorrect food storage, a dirty kitchen and equipment and obstructed and faulty handwashing facilities.

Court documents said: “The presence of insects is a key indicator that surfaces are unclean and food is left unattended.”

The toilet did not have an air-lock or self-closing door, which meant it opened directly into the kitchen.

Food had been stored in uncovered containers inside the dishwasher and freezer.

Surfaces and equipment – such as stove top and dirty pots, pans and trays – had been left uncleansed, and covered in dirt, food waste and debris.

Mr Hoang attended an interview with the Health Protection Service in June 2013, where he admitted he had been aware of the cockroach infestation but did not carry out pest control measures as it involved “killing”.

The lawyer said his client had passionate vegan values but accepted, in hindsight, that his morals had been misguided.

Mr Hoang now brought in a pest control team on a regular basis, has since won awards, and appointed a food safety supervisor.

I wonder what part of vegetarian morals storing food in a dishwasher and failing to clean and sanitize food contact surfaces falls into.

This entry was posted in Restaurant Inspection, Wacky and Weird and tagged , , by Ben Chapman. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.