Everyone has a camera: Vancouver bakery edition

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued a recall for Betty brand and Nancy’s Fancy Yummy in the Tummy brand bakery products.

The agency says the products may be unsafe due to possible contamination from mice infestation at the manufacturing plant.

The affected products were sold in Ontario and Quebec up to and including Feb. 8, and may contain harmful bacteria.

CFIA says there have been no reports of illness linked to the products.

Everyone has a camera, licking fetish edition: Meat in Ohio, doorknob in California

A video has surfaced showing a worker at “La Plaza Tapatia” international market in Columbus licking meat that was meant for customers.

Customers are outraged after the video was posted to social media. Now, the incident has gotten the attention of Franklin County Public Health.

“We do take that very seriously,” said Garrett Guillozet supervisor of the food safety program.

Guillozet, told ABC6/FOX28 that the images are disturbing.

“I was definitely surprised,” said Guillozet.

A tipster sent the clip to ABC6/FOX28 after it was posted to Snapchat. ABC6/FOX28 discovered the incident is just the latest in a string of potential customer health dangers at the west Columbus market. For a time in 2018, the grocery was placed on the Enforcement Program due to violations.

One the store’s Facebook page, the workers involved posted an apology video. They claim the meat had been dropped on the floor and after recording the video they threw it away.

For their part, administrators at Franklin County Public Health told ABC6/FOX28 that the market owners had been working to clean up issues.

“To see this happen after that was kind of disheartening and frustrating,” said Guillozet.

The owner of the store released the following statement to ABC6/FOX28. The below statement may be attributed to Gustavo Salazar, owner, La Plaza Tapatia:

La Plaza Tapatia is committed to the highest standards for the safety and quality of the foods we sell. We are extremely disappointed in the behavior of two of our employees, who posted a video of inappropriate actions in our meat handling area.

The video only involved the single piece of meat shown in the video, and it was immediately discarded (below, not exactly as shown, because I couldn’t find the real one). None of the meat we have for sale was affected.

This is unacceptable behavior, and the two employees have been terminated from their positions. We also will retrain all our employees in our firm expectations for food safety. Further, the Franklin County Health Department inspected our store on January 30 and found our operations to be both well maintained and with good food handling practices.

The trust and confidence of our customers and the Hispanic community is of great importance to us, and we apologize for any concern this situation has caused.

In weirdly related news, a California man was caught on surveillance video licking a doorbell for quite a while in a California neighborhood.

The suspect, whom police identified as 33-year-old Roberto Arroyo, spent about three hours licking the doorbell and milling around the Salinas, California yard of Sylvia and Dave Dungan.

The incident happened around 5:00 am. The homeowners were not home at the time, but they told news station KION that their children were.

They were alerted to the incident when their surveillance system notified them of movement by the front door.

The man was also caught relieving himself in the front yard, and reportedly also approached a neighbor’s house.

“You kind of laugh about it afterwards because technically he didn’t do anything,” said Sylvia Dungan, who owns the house shown in the video, told KION.

Police are searching for the suspect and say that he could face two misdemeanor charges for petty theft and prowling.

Everyone’s got a camera: Rats in Sydney restaurants edition

The City of Sydney has blamed a recent rise in rat sightings across the CBD on “unprecedented” construction work, as two restaurants in as many weeks had to close to deal with rodents.

The Sydney Westfield storefront of popular Taiwanese restaurant chain Din Tai Fung voluntarily closed on Thursday after a video surfaced of a rat scurrying around its kitchen area.

Din Tai Fung are in damage control after vision showed a large rat in their kitchen in at their Westfield Sydney outlet.

Sydney resident Lucy Hui, who posted the video and tagged Din Tai Fung Australia in the post, said it was sent to her.

“Makes me want to vomit,” she wrote. “Never eating there again….and it was a favourite.”

Her post prompted the restaurant chain to reply in the comments with an apology and assurance that “we immediately activated our pest control specialists as well as professional cleaners to inspect and disinfect our premises as a priority.

“We are also conducting thorough investigations and improving measures in pest defence during post-operations hours. This is important as we already clean, disinfect and secure the kitchen on a daily basis, yet it’s clear we can do even better.”

The chain apologised “for the situation” in a statement on Thursday.

“Food safety is of utmost importance to us and we would like to state our unwavering commitment to this, and to thank our customers for their support and understanding.”

A spokesman for the City of Sydney said an environmental health officer inspected the restaurant on Thursday morning and was informed by staff that the business had voluntarily shut down.

The Din Tai Fung video appeared just days after an Oporto restaurant in Sydney voluntarily closed after a social media video showed multiple rats scurrying around inside.

Despite the city’s “comprehensive pest control program”, rats are somewhat a fact of life in inner Sydney.

And in a reminder that everyone does have a camera, this school principal has been fired after this video appeared of him dragging a naughty 9-year-old off to the office, I guess.

Thermometers may help: Caterers in China are reportedly using AI to spot unhygienic cooks

Thepaper.cn (via the South China Morning Post) reports that local authorities in eastern China have tapped artificial intelligence (AI) to clamp down on unsanitary cooks in kitchens — and to reward those who adhere to best practices.

According to the report, a camera-based system currently being piloted in the Zhejiang city of Shaoxing automatically recognizes “poor [sanitation] habits” and alerts managers to offending workers via a mobile app. It’s reportedly the fruit of a six-year project — Sunshine Kitchen — that seeks to bring transparency to food preparation in catering, hotels, school cafeterias, and restaurants.

Zhou Feng, director of the Food Service Supervision Department in Shaoxing, told Thepaper.cn that the system can identify 18 different “risk management” areas, including smoking and using a smartphone. On the flip side, it recognizes four positive habits, like disinfecting surfaces and hand washing, and monitors kitchen conditions that might impact food safety, such as temperature and humidity.

So far, the local Xianheng Hotel and over 87 catering companies are said to have trialed the system, and authorities reportedly plan to expand the number to over 1,000 this year.

It’s not the first time AI has been applied to food safety.

In November 2018, a study led by researchers at Google and Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health described a machine learning model — FINDER (Foodborne IllNess DEtector in Real time) — that leveraged search and location data to highlight “potentially unsafe” restaurants. FINDER took in anonymous logs from users who opted to share their location data, and it identified search queries indicative of food poisoning (e.g., “how to relieve stomach pain”) while looking up restaurants visited by the users who performed those searches.

In the end, FINDER not only outperformed complaint-based inspections and routine inspections concerning precision, scale, and latency (the time that passed between people becoming sick and the outbreak being identified), it managed to better attribute the location of foodborne illness to a specific venue than did customers.

San Francisco-based startup ImpactVision, meanwhile, leverages machine learning and hyperspectral imaging — a technique that combines spectroscopy and computer vision — to assess the quality of food in factories and elsewhere automatically. It’s now working with avocado distributors to replace their current systems, and with large berry distributors to potentially automate manual processes, such as counting strawberries.

Everyone’s got a camera: Rat infestation shuts down Sydney fast food store

Popular fast food chain Oporto has been forced to close the doors of one of its Sydney outlets after it was revealed the store had a horrendous rat infestation.

Footage posted to Facebook by Vijay Kumar shows large rats running around the store, leaping on counters and scurrying into the kitchen of the Broadway fast food outlet.

“This one goes out to all the Oporto lovers out there! Think zillion times before you walk again into this place,” Mr Kumar wrote along with the video.

“Todays Special — Spicy Gluten free Rat burgers!”

Craveable Brands, which owns Oporto, Red Rooster and Chicken Treat, told news.com.au that it shut the store down as soon as the company became aware of the video on January 17.

“Oporto stores across Australia maintain rigorously high sanitation standards. This is a one-off situation related to a single store in Broadway, Sydney,” the organisation said in a statement.

“Vermin appear to have been dislocated by external construction activity in the Broadway area, which can lead to increased activity for surrounding businesses. Vermin appear to have accessed the Broadway restaurant via a ventilation hole, or other access point from outside.”

Consumer choice at Kenyan restaurants

I’m still sorta amazed me and the barfblog.com gang get citied daily (and that after 15 years, Chapman can skate and sorta write).

So here’s one from Kenya.

Dining is a common phenomenon in major cities and towns, especially in modern lifestyle where people have limited time due to work and other related engagements. Indigenous restaurants have become a preference for most consumers although their patronage varies, attributed to various push factors such as health, curiosity and variety. Although hygiene is an important aspect in choosing where to dine, most customers are not keen to observe it.

This study explored food handlers’ hygiene practices as determinants of customers’ choice of selected African indigenous restaurants’ in Nairobi City County, Kenya. The study adopted a cross-sectional descriptive survey targeting 15 selected African indigenous restaurants. Cochran formula was used to determine a sample size of three hundred and eighty-four (384) customers from a population of 2,560 through convenient sampling. Data collection instruments were two questionnaires, an interview guide and an observation checklist. Qualitative data was ordered, coded and summarized in compilation sheets for easier analysis in addition to inferential statistics. Quantitative data was analyzed using statistical packages for social sciences with levels of significance established using paired tests with a cut-off point of P < 0.05, (95%) confidence and significance levels. Chi square Pearson’s correlation coefficient tests were calculated to identify the correlation between food handlers’ hygiene practices and customers’ choice of restaurants. The findings presented a c 2 = 4.244, df* = 2 and p = 0.133 which is > 0.05. With a significance level > 0.05 (0.133), the alternative hypothesis (H1) was rejected. The findings showed that there was no significant relationship between the two variables. Most customers were not keen on hygiene standards as evidenced in some restaurants where regardless of the poor hygiene practices present, there were still high flows of customers.

The study concluded that even though hygiene practices have an effect on the customers’ choice of the restaurants, the effect is not significant. The study recommended the public health authorities in the urban centers to educate all restaurant stakeholders on food hygiene regulations and inform consumers about hazards associated with improper handling of food. The study further recommended that restaurants operators to adhere to the food hygiene regulations and similar studies to be done in other localities, in rural restaurants, and to incorporate more restaurants

Evaluating the food handlers’ hygiene practices as determinants of customer choice at selected African indigenous restaurants in Nairobi City County, Kenya, 13 November 2018

Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management p. 57-76

N., M., Wandolo, M., N, M., & Mutisya-Mutungi, M. 

https://stratfordjournals.org/journals/index.php/Journal-of-Hospitality/article/view/204

Things lawyers say ‘My owner insulted the inspector’s heritage but at the lower end of the scale’ Brisbane restaurant fined $20K

Health inspectors are poorly paid and take a lot of shit.

Can’t report reality, gotta keep tourism and biz happy regardless of how little they know about food safety.

A Brisbane restaurateur has been fined more than $20,000 after pleading guilty to racially abusing a health inspector who found a “cockroach infestation” in his business.

Ravendra Prasad (right, exactly as shown) said the public should be comfortable eating at his takeaway restaurant, which has remained open since he was charged, as he left the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

Toby Crockford of the Brisbane Times reports the 11 charges against the 64-year-old, who either owns or is involved in three restaurants, stemmed from two inspections in 2017 at his Indian Feast restaurant in St Lucia.

The health inspector found at least six breaches of the food standards code on July 5, 2017, which included a “large number” of live and dead cockroaches and cockroach faeces in the Indian Feast kitchen.

The restaurant’s licence was immediately suspended, resulting in the five-day shutdown, after separate infestations were found behind a dishwasher and freezer.

Brisbane City Council lawyer Roman Micairan said the kitchen was in “a state of uncleanliness” and, in addition to the cockroaches, “food waste and other debris [was] strewn around”.

Mr Micairan said the discovery of the cockroaches led to Mr Prasad becoming upset and insulting the health inspector, which included comments regarding the inspector’s eastern European heritage, telling her to go back  where she came from and questioning whether she could do her job.

During a follow-up inspection on August 18, 2017, the cockroach issue had been rectified, but the inspector found food-processing breaches, including pre-cooked food not be cooled at the correct temperature, increasing the risk of bacterial growth.

Defence lawyer Peter Trout argued Mr Prasad’s insult was “on the lower end of the scale” and his client had been “adamantly remorseful” after lashing out.

Connecticut steakhouse temporarily closes amidst food poisoning fears

Kevin Zimmerman of West Fair Online reports that Barbarie’s Black Angus Grill in Danbury has voluntarily closed while the city’s health department investigates a possible outbreak of a food-borne illness.

The investigation came in the wake of several diners’ complaints of food poisoning after dining at the 5 Eagle Road eatery, which were first reported on Dec. 26. The Health Department emphasized that no evidence of food poisoning has been found yet.

Barbarie’s was last inspected by the Danbury Health Department on Aug. 15 and passed with a score of a 91, according to city health department records.

“The Barbarie name has been a part of Danbury for over 60 years,” the restaurant, which could reopen as soon as today, said in a statement. “Our main priority is the safety and health of our patrons. We are currently working alongside the health department to get to the bottom of this. At this time, we do not have any further information.”

Everyone has a camera – even the restaurant operators

Doug and I have been talking about marketing food safety for years – the oft misunderstood concept. If you’re doing a good job at food safety tell everyone about it – differentiate yourself from your competitors. Complementing this idea is transparency and disclosure. Everyone has a camera.

In 2005 some keen public health folks in Korea started soliciting food safety-related pictures from diners as they ate and ordered at restaurants. The authorities wanted to enlist citizens to look for violations to place additional pressure on businesses to be decent food safety citizens – and to fine them for bad practices.

Five years ago we started a project, citizen food safety, on Instagram. Collectively capturing food safety, in the broadest terms through the lens of the camera phone-wielding public. This wasn’t just for the food safety nerds; its for the Interweb’s population of eaters: the regular folks who shop, eat at restaurants, visit farmers markets, cook or eat.

The hashtag #citizenfoodsafety still pops up sometimes on social media.

According to Xinhuanet, Health officials in the Chinese city of Hangzhou are actively calling on restaurant operators to be more transparent and put up cameras and offer patrons a live look on what’s going on in the kitchen. I love it. This advances #citizenfoodsafety.

Sure, folks can do weird stuff in blind spots, but this is a cool progression.

In an effort to alleviate food safety concerns that shroud China’s booming takeout services, the capital city of Zhejiang Province said over 150 restaurants had offered such services on a popular takeout app.

Hangzhou’s administration for market regulation said it was part of the city’s campaign to turn its eateries into “sunshine restaurants,” which install cameras or have open kitchens to allow for customer supervision.

The online live vetting aims to eliminate the “blind spot” as more restaurants jump on the mobile internet bandwagon to promote their takeout services, said Wang Jinchao, an official with the administration.

Consumers will feel relieved as they can see what happens in the kitchen, while the restaurants will be prompted to comply with the rules, according to Wang.

Fancy food ain’t safe food: Canteen at one of Lincolnshire’s top schools hit with one-star food hygiene rating

A Lincolnshire school has moved to reassure parents that its kitchens are clean after receiving a one out five food hygiene rating for one its canteens.

Health inspectors from West Lindsey District Council were not impressed after a visit to Will’s diner at William Farr School in Welton near Lincoln on October 31.

Inspectors were particularly concerned about the school’s management of food safety and said ‘major improvement was necessary’.

Improvement was also requested on hygienic food handling, although the cleanliness and condition of the facilities was described as good.

However, William Farr – which was ranked as the county’s twelfth top performing school in July – insists there is an innocent explanation.

It is thought that the school froze several items and then served them past their recommended sell-by date, which is usually safe but does fall foul of food standards agency regulations – although the inspector did say there were no concerns about the risks posed to public health.

In the report from the inspector it read: “In most areas of this business , food safety provision is of a high standard.

“The law states that, subject to certain provisions, food exceeding the designated use by date is unsafe.”