Any time there is an outbreak of Hepatitis A, it’s not just a lack of vaccination, not just about identifying those at risk and giving them a shot, it’s about poop.
The Trentonian reports that the month before a Rosa’s Restaurant employee was diagnosed with Hepatitis A — sending residents scrambling for vaccinations — the eatery was cited for numerous handwashing violations.
According to an Oct. 8 food inspection report obtained by The Trentonian through a public records request, the restaurant was listed as out of compliance for employees conducting handwashing in a timely manner, workers performing proper handwashing and the business providing paper towel for handwashing facilities.
Also marked as a violation, an employee was observed making sandwiches and handling rolls with his bare hands, while another worker was shredding and handling lettuce with his bare hands, the report states.
“Due to the number of critical violations, the person in charge is not demonstrating proper knowledge of food safety principles pertaining to this operation,” Hamilton Township food inspector Kelly A. Thomas wrote in her report, which gave the restaurant a conditionally satisfactory evaluation. “No proof of food handling certification was available on-site at time of inspection.”
In response to the October report and some of the continued handwashing violations throughout the years, restaurant owner Rosa Spera said in an email on Friday that her establishment has four handwashing sinks.
“On past inspections some of the signs reminding workers to wash their hands have been missing,” Spera stated. “Unfortunately, sometimes people remove the
After the first case of Hepatitis A was reported in late November, officials disclosed three other Hamilton area residents contracted the virus that had eaten at Rosa’s during the time period the worker was affected.
Spera said in the email it’s “unfortunate” that one of her workers got sick in November.
“When he did, he reported immediately to a doctor, not to work,” Spera stated. “When I learned of it, I took immediate action to take every precaution. With the guidance of the Hamilton Health Department, we threw away all open food and had the township observe our deep cleaning of all food areas.”
Jeff Plunkett, the township’s health officer, said in an interview on Tuesday, that the restaurant was closed for approximately seven to eight hours on Dec. 1.
“They had to remove the entire staff, bring an entire staff new that hadn’t worked there during that period of communicability when the gentleman was sick,” Plunkett said. “The entire place was clean and sanitized and witnessed by an inspector who was there the entire time.”
But even as the health inspector stressed the importance of wearing gloves on Dec. 1, Thomas stated in her report that she observed an employee slicing and handling bread with his bare hands. Two days later, Thomas stated she observed employees doing prep work scramble to put on gloves as she walked through the doors, while another employee put on gloves without washing his hands first, inspection documents read.