$1.6 M lawsuit claims Calgary siblings infected with E. coli after eating at Vietnamese restaurant

Kevin Martin of the Calgary Herald reports a $1.6-million lawsuit has been filed on behalf of a Calgary brother and sister who were infected with E. coli, allegedly from eating tainted food at a Vietnamese restaurant.

Chi Lan Vietnamese RestaurantThe lawsuit filed on behalf of minors Hunter and Julia Aloisio said both were infected with E. coli after dining at the Chi Lan Vietnamese Restaurant on July 31, 2014.

It says Hunter Aloisio was impacted most by the infection, developing hemolytic uremic syndrome.

The boy required dialysis to treat the illness and is now susceptible to kidney failure, the lawsuit says.

The claim names the restaurant, as well as its suppliers and “upstream defendants,” unidentified companies “involved in the livestock slaughter and dressing industry, the farming industry and/or the secondary processing industry.”

“The defendants were negligent and breached the standard of care owed to the plaintiffs,” the statement of claim filed on behalf of the siblings says.

“The defendants owed the plaintiffs a duty of care to ensure that their products, including the restaurant food, were safe for consumption and would not expose the plaintiffs to contaminants such as E. coli bacteria,” it says.

Metal tip found in Calgary boy’s burger may be meat tenderizing needle: expert

Needle or mechanically tenderized beef can introduce shiga-toxin producing E. coli like O157 into the center of a steak, rendering it not safe if undercooked, but what about the actual needle?

needle.tenderize.crJames Deane, who is six, was eating a hamburger made from meat purchased from Costco on Wednesday night in Calgary when he bit into a piece of metal which looks like the tip of a needle.

Domenic Pedulla, president of Canadian Food Safety Group, says meat is injected with brine or flavouring a lot of times because they’re using a lower quality or tough cut.

James’ father, Mike Deane, contacted Costco and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency after finding the needle.

Costco confirms the meat was purchased at its south Calgary store, and has started an investigation with the supplier, JBS Food Canada, Inc., which has a plant in Brooks, Alta.

JBS says it is aware of the allegations and is co-operating with the investigation.

Pedulla says processors run their products through metal detectors to avoid such situations.

He says foreign objects in food are becoming less common “because processors are tightening up their procedures and the technology is getting better.”

Calgary restaurant fined $25,000 for unsanitary conditions

A Calgary restaurant and its owner were fined a total of $25,000 on Tuesday for numerous violations under the Public Health Act over the past four years, including high-risk meats and vegetables stored at room temperature, and filthy equipment and work conditions.

Provincial court Judge Allan Fradsham meted out $12,500 in penalties each to a numbered company that operates Peking Garden Restaurant on Varsity Drive N.W. and its Peking Garden Restaurantowner, Ann Pat.

Alberta Health Services lawyer Ivan Bernardo said charges against other directors were withdrawn following guilty pleas to 11 counts each by Ann Pat on behalf of herself and the company.

“We think $25,000 of fines sends out the right message to the community,” Bernardo said later outside court.

Among the worst violations were frozen meat thawing on the floor under a sink; greasy containers, dirty sinks and washrooms; food debris littered on the ground outside the back door and crows seen landing on the garbage; high risk food such as jellyfish, chicken, beef, rice and meat dumplings allowed to thaw at room temperature; clean dishes exposed to dirty water; numerous staff wearing dirty aprons; a box of meat on the floor in the walk-in cooler in a pond of water; a large amount of fruit flies in the dry storage area; and a tin of meat dripping juice onto the freezer floor.

Eating poop? Make sure it’s cooked; Calgary sushi joint reopens after mouse-poop discovery

Sushi and mouse poop really don’t go together; if you’re going to eat poop, make sure it’s cooked.

Health inspectors shut down a Calgary sushi restaurant last week – because when I think fresh, raw fish, I think Calgary — after finding a “significant amount of mouse droppings,” a Fuji Yama.calgarylive critter in the bar and other upkeep issues.

Fuji Yama on 17th, a late-night hangout for sushi buffs, re-opened 24 hours after being ordered to close by provincial authorities on Jan. 27.

Alberta Health Services spokesman Bruce Conway acknowledged the findings would likely invoke squeamishness for some, but contended it’s not unheard of in the industry.

Six critical health code violations and three others were reported on Jan. 24 during a routine inspection.

Rodent excrement was found in “several areas” of the restaurant such as the pop dispenser closet, dry storage shelving and bar area.

Other critical violations cited included sanitizer without chlorine, no paper towels in the staff washroom, and raw frozen meat refrigerated in containers without lids. Non-critical offences consisted of rusty shelving, missing tiles and an “extreme build up” of food debris on the rice cooker.

On Monday, owner and head chef Francis Tam denied knowledge of the closure and told Metro he was “busy for now” before declining to answer further questions.

Calgary Wendy’s shut down over health violations

Brisbane is like Calgary, 20 years ago – a cow-town flush with resource money and trying to act sophisticated but still overrun with bogans (fubar).

The Wendy’s on Macleod Trail and 70 Ave. in Calgary was visited by inspectors last Wednesday, who uncovered16 safety violations.

The issues included an employee who didn’t wash their hands while handling raw meat, raw hamburger in a cooler that was too fubarfeat__spanwarm, black mold and water damage in the staff room and grease and oil on the floor.

“The reason that the restaurant has been closed is not because someone has been made ill, it is because we have an older building that requires repairs,” says Lisa Deletroz, spokesperson for Wendy’s Canada. “Part of those repairs involves making it a safer working environment.”

Employees at the affected location have been reassigned and will undergo additional training, and the restaurant will have to be visited by health inspectors again before it can reopen.

5 sick; E. coli cases in Alberta but no link to beef recall, officials say

Alberta Health Services is investigating four cases of E. coli poisoning in the Edmonton area and one case in Calgary.

“We always investigate E. coli. That’s standard process when we get a case of E. coli,” AHS spokesman Kerry Williamson said.

“We’re not linking it whatsoever to the (beef) recall. Our investigation is about finding the potential source.”

This week, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced a recall of ground beef and ground-beef products that were manufactured at an Alberta plant and sold at major retailers including Safeway, Wal Mart, Superstore, Sobeys and Costco.

Concerned about possible contamination of E. coli O157: H7 at its processing facility in Brooks, XL Foods alerted the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and issued the voluntary recall.

The Edmonton-area E. coli cases were reported recently to the health authority, and the investigation into the Calgary case began Monday.

CTV News in Calgary is reporting that a four-year-old girl became sick from eating tainted beef patties on Labour Day, according to the girl’s family. The family of Sarah Demoskoff told CTV that doctors said Sarah’s illness was linked to the beef recall.

Bad eggs lead to $23K in fines for Calgary catering company

“You’re not in Kansas anymore … it doesn’t matter if you come from China, or Russia, or some third-world country, if you want to do business in Alberta you comply with the regulations.”

I have no idea why Rob O’Neill is slagging Kansas when prosecuting a case about crappy eggs in Alberta (that’s in Canada, where food safety delusions run high) other than overwhelming creative insight and just saying no to clichés.

As reported by the Calgary Sun, buying rotting eggs linked to a salmonella outbreak has landed a Calgary catering company and two of its principals fines totalling $23,690.

Slobodan Milivojevic, owner of the company that does business as Calgary Food Services, received the bulk of the punishment, fines and surcharges totalling $17,135 on 11 charges under the Public Health Act.

O’Neill said the company was purchasing eggs, which were not from approved sources.

The off-colored and oddly shapes eggs were linked to a salmonella outbreak, he said.

“In November, 2010, there was a foodborne illness investigation which found 91 lab-confirmed cases of salmonella,” O’Neill said.

“Several of the individuals suffered bloody diarrhea and six people were hospitalized,” he said.

Calgary’s egg man off to jail for contempt of court

An Alberta farmer will serve 37 days in jail for contempt of court after he refused to stop selling filthy, low-grade eggs on Calgary street corners despite repeatedly being ordered to stop.

Elmar Augart, 75, has already paid $14,000 in fines and served two weeks in jail for ignoring a decade’s worth of orders from the courts and health inspectors that he stop selling eggs without a permit.

“What will it take to finally get Mr. Augart to obey health and safety legislation, or court orders?” Rob O’Neill, a prosecutor for Alberta Health Services, asked court. “It’s clear he needs to go back to jail for a longer time to get the message across.”

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Stephen Hillier did not hesitate to agree to a jail sentence.

“It is clear that prior penalties have not engaged the attention of Mr. Augart,” Hillier said.

Augart’s trouble with illegal eggs began in September 2002 when he was convicted of selling them without a permit. That was followed by a second conviction in March 2003. He paid a total of $14,000 in fines.

Then in August 2003, Augart was caught selling eggs out of cardboard boxes on a street corner in Calgary’s Chinatown. He used no refrigeration and the eggs he sold were reaching 31 C while waiting to be sold. In that incident, health officials seized and destroyed 2,000 eggs.

O’Neill said that the eggs Augart sold were discoloured, misshapen and covered with feathers and bird feces. They were low-grade eggs rejected from other sources and sold as “farm-fresh” by Augart.

In November 2010, he was again caught selling eggs in Calgary’s Chinatown. He was also found to be selling eggs to restaurants, cafes and catering companies.

Augart’s eggs were linked to a salmonella outbreak in Calgary in late 2010. More than 4,000 eggs were seized from four catering companies and traced back to him.

He was caught twice more, in December 2010 and March 2011. His truck was seized and impounded. Augart was asked where the eggs came from and where he planned to deliver them.

In a recent affidavit to court, Augart tried to explain himself.

“I estimate I’ve broken even selling eggs,” he wrote. “I have continued for pleasure because I have sold eggs in and around Calgary since 1957.”

Economic emotional costs of food tampering; a retailers perspective

Calgary’s Oakridge Co-op had to take several drastic – and costly – measures over a two-month period last year as a result of food tampering incidents, manager Al Madsen testified on Thursday.

Madsen said from the first discovery of food products with pins and nails in them, on Jan. 18, 2010, until a suspect, Tatyana Granada (right), was arrested on March 16, 2010, about a dozen surveillance cameras were installed to go along with the two or three cameras in place in January.

He said some cameras were installed with the knowledge of staff after the January incidents and several more strategically located cameras were "installed surreptitiously after staff left," following further tampering incidents on Feb. 17.

Madsen said the cost of the new cameras was between $35,000 and $40,000.

He told Crown prosecutor Martha O’Connor at Granada’s trial that the store was closed at least twice to conduct entire grid searches for tampered products.

Madsen said the pattern of tampering was consistent through January, where pins and nails were placed in fresh foods in the cheese, deli, bakery and produce sections. Still, the Co-op and police were stymied.

Madsen said undercover security officers were hired to be on the lookout at all times for possible tampering by customers or staff.

Following yet another rash of discoveries of food items with pins in them on March 11, 2010, the manager said it was decided not to close the store again, but to have cashiers inform all customers at checkouts to be vigilant about checking any food products for tampering.

That day, the bulk food bins were dumped out and because the store could not ensure safety of customers, $9,000 worth of food was thrown out.

It was around that time that assistant manager Chris Goode identified Granada as having been barred from the Co-op stores in December 2009 for shoplifting.

Madsen said he reviewed video surveillance of Granada’s entire shopping trip from March 10, 2010, and outlined her route and where she stopped.

Granada, 44, is on trial for three counts of mischief causing property damage and five counts of trespassing, for entering Oakridge Co-op. She has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Madsen said no further tampered products have been found since Granada’s arrest.

Food tampering side effects; store morale, sales drop

In Jan. 2010, someone decided it would be a bright idea to put needles in bread at the Calgary Co-op Oakridge Centre on Southland Drive and 24th Street SW, Calgary (that’s in Canada). The store called the cops, temporarily closed, and recalled its bulk bakery products, bulk food items and packaged cheeses.

In Feb. 2010, more needles were found and the same routine happened again.

Yesterday, the responsible “punk” with “a box of pins and a brain half as sharp”  was in a Calgary court, on trial for three counts of mischief causing property damage and five counts of trespassing.

Tatyana Granada, 44, (right, exactly as shown) apparently decided needles-in-food was an appropriate response after being banned from the Calgary Co-op for shoplifting.

Bakery department employee Sandra Grassie testified it all began for her on Jan. 18, 2010, when a customer found a cheese bun with a needle in it, adding,

"Morale was awful because of stuff that was going on. They were watching everybody to determine what was going on. We had to take everything in the bakery, rip it open and check everything."

Clifford Gelowitz, meat supervisor at the store, also said the food tampering was devastating.

"It impacted our sales, it impacted everybody in there because our hours were cut. We actually lost a few employees from our department because sales weren’t there."

The trial continues.