Rats? We got no stinking rats: Australia restaurant reassures community it’s rat-free

A Chinese restaurant has exterminated a large rat after a video of the rodent in the shopfront window went viral yesterday.

The family business in Minto, NSW, has reassured the community the rat’s appearance was a freak incident after a resident’s video was shared hundreds of times in the space of hours, reported the Macarthur Chronicle.

Restaurant owner Emily Tang said the rat likely rushed through the door from the street at the start of the day.

“I opened the door and it maybe came from the streets, trying to get into the kitchen,” she said.

“Every night we close the door, put down material at the door to stop the rats. We have never ever had any rats like this before.

“We called the pest control man straight away and got rid of the rat. We have always had a good record with the health inspector.”


‘We hired a consultant’ Mass. restaurant manager blasts health board

A local Chinese restaurant temporarily shut down by the Board of Health says it won’t reopen because of the board’s “baseless” and “irresponsible” decision.

red.pepper.farminghamIn a scathing letter sent to the Board of Health Monday, the manager of Red Pepper, 17 Edgell Road, said the restaurant was firmly refusing “to accept your unjust order.”

Hong Jiang said the health board hurt the restaurant’s reputation and made false and inappropriate statements during its Aug. 24 meeting, including exaggerating its history of critical violations. Citing prior problems and recent failed inspections, members voted 3-0 to close the restaurant until it took steps to ensure food safety.

“Your irresponsible bureaucratic decision has already caused serious financial losses on us since August 24, and conditions you required to allow us to ‘reopen’ is financially unaffordable for a small business like ours,” Jiang wrote. “As such, we are forced to permanently close the Red Pepper Restaurant in Framingham.”

The Board of Health took action after learning inspectors repeatedly found critical violations at Red Pepper in recent months, such as uncovered food, improper food temperatures and no towels or soap at a handwashing station

“It is astounding that a Health Board would arbitrarily erase two years between the dates, in an apparent attempt to exaggerate Red Pepper’s problems and mislead the public,” he wrote.

Jiang also disputed statements Chairman Mike Hugo made about previous consultants calling the place a “hopeless mess” and saying no one there was paying attention to food safety. Jiang wrote the restaurant hired one consultant in 2012 to train kitchen staff and then a second who “praised the cleanliness of our kitchen and also expressed satisfaction with our cooperation during his training sessions.”

Jiang wrote that no one was ever sickened by eating at Red Pepper, and customers, in fact, have written many positive public reviews about the authentic Sichuan cuisine.

‘Systematic disgrace’: Directors convicted, fined $70K for unhygienic Chinese restaurant in Melbourne

Four directors and their company have been convicted and fined a total of $70,000 for the unhygienic and unclean state last year of their Chinese restaurant in Kew that a magistrate has described as a “systematic disgrace.”

san.choiA Melbourne court heard that the manager of San Choi on Kew voluntarily shut the premises for two days after Boroondara council officers found multiple contraventions of the Food Act and Food Standards Code in two inspections.

Prosecutor Stephanie Bower told Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday that a mandatory inspection of the premises in High Street on August 11 found accumulated dirt, food scraps and other “visible matter” on the kitchen floors, under wok equipment and food preparation benches.

Ms Bower said food – oysters, diced chicken, pork and dumplings – was not stored in a way to protect it from the likelihood of contamination.

She said oysters were stored in a cool room and underbench fridges in “uncovered and exposed plastic tubs and bowls”, diced chicken was uncovered in a plastic tub on a kitchen bench and pork was stored uncovered on trays on kitchen shelving.

Ms Bower told magistrate Carolene Gwynn also that dumplings were kept in a walk-in freezer on an uncovered metal tray while other food was “stored in an outdoor cage area amongst cleaning chemicals and other equipment”.

She detailed how food, including pork shoulders and diced chicken, was stored outside of temperature control and had been for at least two hours.

Defence barrister Belinda Franjic said her clients, who had no prior convictions, were hardworking friends of 20 years from a “blameless existence” who were “equally to blame for the state of the restaurant”. Ms Franjic said only one had had daily involvement in the restaurant, which has operated since 2006, and that the circumstances of the offences had caused them shame and humiliation.

At least 80 sick with Salmonella linked to Australia Chinese restaurant

Dozens of southeast Queenslanders have been affected by a suspected salmonella outbreak south of Brisbane.

chin.chin.salm.victims.15Chinese restaurant Chin Chin at Springwood was closed by Logan City Council on Monday after people began presenting to hospitals with food poisoning symptoms.

A representative of Queensland Health said it was believed most of those sick had eaten at the premises on Saturday and Sunday.

About 80 people are understood to have been affected, but final numbers had yet to be calculated.

A Metro South health spokesman said tests were still being carried out and it was too early to confirm what caused the outbreak.

“As of Wednesday afternoon, we’d received nine formal complaints, but they relate to multiple people,” he said.

“Metro South Public Health is investigating, with samples and statements taken from a number of people.”

In a statement, a Logan City Council spokeswoman said they were working with Queensland Health to investigate.

“We have taken steps under the Food Act 2006 to ensure there is no further risk until the outcome of the investigation is known,” she said.

“We also encourage people would like to report any other alleged cases of illness to contact Queensland Health.”

lsPrivacy legislation prevented Metro South and the Logan City Council from confirming the name of the eatery.

However dozens of angry comments were left on an automatically-generated Facebook page for Chin Chin.

“Went here with three friends on Saturday, one of us has been admitted to hospital for food poisoning (around 30 people there from Saturday night alone!). And I’ve been writhing in pain for the last two days,” wrote Benjamin Gunning.

“Absolute disgrace,” wrote Joshua Curtus.

“My partner and I ate there on [Saturday] and we have been in bed sick for 3 days. This place needs a serious clean up… I will never eat there again.”

Julie Holmes and her daughter Tayla are recovering after falling ill over the weekend. They were at the restaurant to celebrate Julie’s birthday.

Eight of the 15 people at Julie Holmes’ birthday dinner on Sunday night fell violently ill.

 A sign on the restaurant’s door yesterday read: “Closed for maintenance until further notice.”

Authorities say the closure order does not necessarily mean the restaurant is to blame for the outbreak because it may have been supplied with contaminated food.

Bullshit. Sourcing food from safe sources is part of a restaurant’s responsibility, along with the usual — and limited — cooking, cleaning, chilling and separating.

London Chinese restaurant was so dirty even chef caught salmonella

The London Evening Standard reports the owner of a Chinese restaurant infested with mice and cockroaches – where even a chef suffered salmonella – has walked free from court.

Ellen Chew, of Inn Noodle in Oxford Street, has been banned indefinitely from running a catering business after being in charge of a "food hygiene disaster waiting to happen."

Southwark crown court heard how two customers, Rebecca Katisoris and Stanley Li, needed hospital treatment after being struck down with salmonella. The noodle chef was also sick.

Hygiene inspectors found the kitchens were a haven for vermin and encrusted with grease and dirt. They found evidence of cockroaches behind a fridge, mice droppings in a bowl of ginger and chilli mix, and high levels of E. coli and other bacteria in a bowl of rice.

Containers of raw meat were piled next to a sink for washing plates. Three dishcloths used to clean plates and wipe surfaces were found to have the same strain of salmonella on them.

Chew, 42, of Rotherhithe, admitted two counts of placing food deemed unsafe on the market and four counts of failing to comply with European food safety legislation. Judge Deborah Taylor imposed the ban on running a food business and gave her a six-month suspended jail sentence. She was fined £7,515 and ordered to pay £25,000 costs. She must also pay £500 compensation to the two customers who fell ill.

C for Chinese in Australia too; eateries top NSW Food Authority name and shame register

A closer look at the New South Wales Food Authority name and shame register (that’s in Australia) reveals restaurants serving Chinese cuisine are by far the most frequent food safety offenders.

Inspectors have handed out 198 penalty notices, for everything from filthy kitchens to cockroach infestations, to Chinese restaurants since November 2009 – twice as many as for any other nationality. Indian restaurants received 99 fines, Thai 87, Italian/pizzerias 83, Japanese 66 and Vietnamese, 24. Modern Australian, Korean, Lebanese, American, Turkish and Pakistani restaurants rounded out the state’s 12 most culpable cuisines.

Some restaurants are listed more than once on the register, either for repeat offences or because an inspection found multiple breaches. Food safety coach and industry consultant Rachelle Williams said yesterday Chinese and other exotic cuisine restaurants were sometimes less equipped to comply with food safety laws.

Poor personal hygiene of staff and cleanliness of food preparation areas were among the biggest problems.

Double dip Chinese chopstick style

A 1993 episode of the television show, Seinfeld, landed the term double-dipping into popular culture when George Costanza is confronted at a funeral reception by Timmy, his girlfriend’s brother, after dipping the same chip twice.

“Did, did you just double dip that chip?” Timmy asks incredulously, later objecting, “That’s like putting your whole mouth right in the dip!” Finally George retorts, “You dip the way you want to dip, I’ll dip the way I want to dip,” and aims another used chip at the bowl. Timmy tries to take it away, and the scene ends as they wrestle for it.

Peter Mehlman, a veteran “Seinfeld” writer, wrote the episode, and said,

"At the time I was living in Los Angeles, in Venice. There was a party on one of the canals, and apparently someone dipped twice with the same chip. And a woman flipped out. ‘You just dipped twice! How could you do that? Now all your germs are in there!’ I thought, this is just too good not to use on the show.”

CNNGo.com asks this morning, “would you think twice about diving — chopsticks first — twice back into the communal service dishes on just about every table in Shanghai?

“… in China we all ‘double dip.’ If you say you don’t, you’ve never been to a good Chinese meal in Shanghai.

“In restaurants when we share plates of food, almost everyone takes more than a bite with their own personal chopsticks from the shared plates. That means our saliva-covered chopsticks are carrying germs back and forth all meal-long, making for one big shared germ fest on all the plates.

“However, few people, Chinese or Western, seem to view double dipped chopsticks in the same dubious light as a double-dipped chip.”

Lisa Wu, a student at Shanghai International Studies University, said,

“When I was young, my parents would only mention this issue when they caught a cold. They’d keep a separate bowl and use a pair of new chopsticks to pick out some food for themselves. But the rest of the time, we never really thought twice about sharing.”

Wu says that right after the SARS epidemic, there was a public debate on whether people should adapt Western ways of eating, with separate individual servings or at least the use of “public chopsticks” or gongkuai.

Public chopsticks are chopsticks provided for general serving, like a serving spoon, and not used for eating. However, Wu says when the SARS crisis petered out, so did the chopstick discussion.

Huang Juemin, a pediatrician at Shanghai United Family Hospital, said,

“As a teenager growing up in Shanghai in late 1980s I remember vividly the Hepatitis A outbreak. For a while, people challenged the custom of ‘double dipping’ and started using gongkuai — public chopsticks.”

After discussing the double dipping issue with her internal medicine colleagues, Dr. Huang says they all believed that “definitely there is an increased risk for H. Pylori and Hepatitis A, if not Hepatitis B infections. … I think we should make an effort to use public chopsticks from the public health standpoint.”

Dead cockroaches found in food safety log at Waterloo’s Chinese Canteen

The owner of the Chinese Canteen in Waterloo Road, London (the U.K. one, not Canada) has been ordered to pay nearly £5,000 after food safety inspectors found mouse droppings, dead cockroaches and dirty surfaces and utensils at the premises.

London SE1 reports that at one inspection environmental health officers from Southwark Council spotted two dead cockroaches squashed in the food safety log as well as seeing one crawling across a surface used for food preparation.

The owner of the Chinese Canteen pleaded guilty to seven separate food safety offences at Camberwell Green Magistrates Court on Friday 12 November.

George Colairo, proprietor of the restaurant since 1998, was ordered to pay £2,000 for the seven offences, in addition to nearly £3,000 for the full legal costs for Southwark Council.

In June of this year food safety inspectors from Southwark Council visited the premises, and discovered the mouse droppings and evidence of cockroaches.

Environmental health officers also spotted cooked meat on a shelf in a dirty sieve, with the run off liquid dripping into a bowl of open cooked noodles below.

They also saw cooked foods, such as cooked meat and prawn crackers, being kept in dirty, used cardboard boxes, food handlers not washing their hands as often as necessary or sanitising surfaces to protect food safety and food being left open in containers with no – or ill fitting – lids

After a warning to clean up the premises immediately they returned the next day to find none of the necessary action had taken place and the business was shut down.

C is for Chinese in the UK too

U.K. Chinese restaurants and takeaways have dirtier kitchens than eating places serving other styles of cooking, according to environmental health officers.

A national survey of hygiene ratings found that more than half of 491 Chinese outlets failed to meet all legal requirements aimed at preventing food poisoning among diners. Almost half of Indian restaurants and takeaways surveyed also scored poorly in the survey of different cuisines, which was carried out for The Independent.

Similarly low ratings were given to kebab shops, while failings were found at a quarter of fish and chip shops and one in five Italian establishments. By contrast, corporate burger bars run by McDonald’s and KFC chicken houses were found to be very clean.

Paul Hiscoe, a director of Transparency Data, which carried out the survey, said, environmental health officers believe Chinese and Indian chefs struggle on hygiene because of "a combination of culture and language.” They did not always understand food laws and often had difficulty understanding instructions from council officers.