UK school with E. coli cases closed

That school in the U.K. that closed a couple of classrooms in response to an apparent outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 has now been completely closed until further notice.

Two four-year-olds and one five-year-old have so far been taken to hospital but were said to be recovering yesterday. One was treated and discharged, with the other two still in hospital.

This Is Bristol reports that in the past week, parents of 28 other children reported they had mostly milder symptoms, typically stomach ache and diarrhea, with some children experiencing more severe symptoms such as bloody diarrhea.

The HPA said all affected children were being tested for E. coli O157 and initial test results indicated there were probably three with the infection.

Dr David Hunt, consultant with the HPA’s South West (North) Health Protection Unit, said: "We are working closely with Redfield Edge School and have now advised full closure of the school.

This is due to fact that the infection seems to have started to spread among older children, having started among year one and reception classes.”

Restaurant closed, owner fined in Ireland; filthy premises

A former restaurant operator whose premises had a ‘horrendous’ level of cleanliness has been fined a total of €1,000. At Westport court, Peter Langan, with an address at Carrowholly, Westport, was also directed to pay €1,500 towards the costs of the HSE, who prosecuted him.

The Connaught Telegraph reports the prosecution arose following an inspection at the Quay Cottage restaurant, The Harbour, Westport Quay, which Langan no longer operates, on August 12, 2010.

Following the inspection, Langan agreed to the voluntary closure of the restaurant as environmental health officers felt there was a grave and immediate danger to public health, Mr. Patrick Durcan, solicitor, prosecuting, told the court.

After he complied with their requests, the closure order was lifted the following day.

On a charge that the premises was not kept clean and in good repair and condition, witness said a fly screen on a door was open and the screen was filthy. Doorframes into the kitchen and onto the rear yard were engrained with dirt.
In the main kitchen, under the cooking equipment was filthy with food debris on the floor and dirt and grease on the tiles. There was a hole in the walk area adjacent to the grease trap leading outside to the yard.

In the rear yard, the wall around an extractor unit was filthy. Fruit and vegetables were stored out there on rough timber shelving, allowing ingress of pests.

The rear dry good store and walk-in freezer was being used as a storage area for manufacturing. The floor was worn and beside the freezer was engrained with dirt and crab claws. The freezer door was filthy.

Witness said meat was in boxes on the floor. Cooked meats were stored on top of each other with no proper labelling.

There was an abundance of insects in the dry goods store, where there were open bags of flour.

The third charge related to the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP). In this case, no HACCP records were available.

The chef on duty, Ms. Lawlor said, did not know how to operate a probe monitor and admitted to not carrying out temperature checks since starting work six weeks previously.

There was also no cleaning schedule.

Dirty dining in Vegas: Hot N Juicy Crawfish

I’m not sure I understand the difference between crayfish and crawfish (wiki gives it a shot) but after posting about vibrio from crayfish, a devoted barfblogger sent this story from Las Vegas about the Hot and Juicy Crawfish.

KTNV reports the Southern Nevada Health District recently paid a visit to the restaurant and slapped it with 49 demerits, prompting its closure.

Inspectors found cooked crawfish being stored at the wrong temperature, live crawfish in a sink next to dirty dishes, dirty floors – including dead crawfish on the floor of a walk-in freezer – and dried food debris caked to shelves and "clean" kitchen knives.

Inspectors also say three employees were working without valid health cards, a requirement for anyone working with or around food, and a kitchen worker was cited for not properly washing his hands after handling the trash.

Open once again with an "A" grade after re-inspection, Channel 13 Action News stopped by Hot and Juicy Crawfish to speak with the manager about the restaurant’s high number of demerits.

An employee interviewed by KTNV — Channel 13 Action News — said the owner was not available but subsequently added, “We’re not the dirtiest restaurant in Las Vegas. It was a lot of little technicalities. “

Listeria-positive Tyson plant in Buffalo shut down by USDA

The Buffalo News reports that a Tyson meat processing plant on Perry Street has been shut down by federal regulators after inspectors found violations during follow-up testing stemming from an August recall of deli meat produced at the Buffalo facility.

The plant suspended operations Tuesday after an inspection by the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, the federal agency said Wednesday.

The shutdown was triggered by the results of sampling that the federal inspectors conducted during a food safety assessment, the agency said. That assessment was linked to the USDA’s activities at the Perry Street plant since the deli meat recall, said Gary Mickelson, a Tyson spokesman.

The plant employs 560 workers. About 480 workers are affected by what Mickelson described as a “temporary suspension of operations.”

In August, about 380,000 pounds of deli meat produced at the plant and sold at Walmart was voluntarily recalled after a sample tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes.

The plant had two similar recalls in 2004. Tyson first voluntarily recalled 442 pounds of cooked ham in August 2004 after a sample tested positive for Listeria. In November 2004, the company recalled another 50,000 pounds of hot dogs, prompted by an unspecified customer complaint. There were no reports of consumer illnesses in either case.

Food stored under sewage line; Sweat Pea closed in Colorado

It’s difficult to imagine a place called Sweet Pea Market and Café in corn-fed Colorado needing to fight the man. Serving up local produce, fighting health inspectors, it’s a powerful narrative, until folks discover food was stored beneath an unshielded sewer line in a basement walk-in cooler — installed without a permit.

Steamboat Today reports the decision by county officials Tuesday to close Sweet Pea Market and Cafe, the first license revocation of its kind in Routt County in at least 30 years, involved issues that go beyond the popular downtown eatery’s seating capacity and restrooms.

Tuesday’s Board of Health hearing was required by state law after the Routt County Department of Environmental Health assessed three fines of $1,000 each — July 28, Aug. 6 and Aug. 20 — to Sweet Pea owners Jonathon Hieb and Katherine Zambrana. The owners paid all three fines.

The violation that led to the inspections, fines and hearing involved Sweet Pea’s operation during the summer with far more seating capacity than its one restroom allowed, according to state health regulations.

The violations involve food stored in the walk-in cooler and Sweet Pea’s basement walk-in freezer, which also was installed without a permit and walled with noncompliant, absorbent materials including plywood and foam core.

County senior environmental health specialist Heather Savalox said she discovered the cooler and freezer in an inspection Sept. 2 after an anonymous complaint.

“I’ve never seen anybody else store food under a sewer line,” Savalox said about Sweet Pea’s basement. “In 15 years, I’ve never seen that.”

Mike Zopf, director of the county’s environmental health department has directed Routt County’s environmental health department for 31 years. He told commissioners Tuesday that “we have never before recommended that a retail food license be suspended or revoked until" Tuesday.

Rex Brice is vice president of the Steamboat Springs chapter of the Colorado Restaurant Association. He owns four local restaurants: Rex’s American Grill & Bar, Mazzola’s Majestic Italian Diner, Big House Burgers & Bottle Cap Bar, and Lil’ House Country Biscuits & Coffee.

“I feel bad for Sweet Pea, but I’ve always been given the information I’ve needed to make those decisions and I’ve always been held accountable for the regulations,” Brice said. “I guess if you’re going to hold one person accountable, you’ve got to hold everybody accountable.”

In explaining her support for the Sweet Pea license revocation, Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush said the potential impacts of public health risks can be disastrous.

She recalled a local incident of salmonella in 2002 at the former Seasons at the Pond restaurant.

The outbreak occurred Dec. 16, 2002, likely from fruit salad. Fifty-one cases of salmonella were reported in the weeks that followed. Those contaminated ranged from 4 to 72 years old, and 96 percent were Routt County residents.

Hieb said Sweet Pea had about 15 people on staff at the time of the revocation.

He said the community showed “unbelievable” support for Sweet Pea on Tuesday night when the market had a sale on inventory up to its closure at midnight Wednesday.

“Thank God for our community,” Hieb continued. “We’re going to do everything in our power to open up in two months.”

More rats: rodents close Pennsylvania state capital cafeteria

The cafeteria in the Pennsylvania capital building where the governor and other state legislators hang out, form cliques and toss around tater tots, has not been inspected in four years – despite a state law requiring annual checks — and is now closed after an infestation of rodents was discovered.

Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner said Thursday he received assurances in 2005 that the state Agriculture Department would inspect the facility, and his auditors later received false assurances that it was being inspected regularly.

Last week, Agriculture Department inspectors finally arrived at the ground-floor cafeteria, a popular coffee and lunch spot. They found a "severe" rodent infestation, including an "excessive" amount of rodent droppings on food preparation equipment and in cabinets, utensil bins and elsewhere. The droppings indicate the presence of live mice and are considered an imminent health risk.

The ground-floor cafeteria is now closed and is not expected to reopen until January.

Cora Pizza in Toronto shut down due to rat infestation

Cora Pizza, (the One Stop Pizza Shop), apparently a favorite of University of Toronto students, was shut down Dec. 21/09 by Toronto Public Health due to a rodent infestation and to prevent gross unsanitary conditions.

Among the findings were a bucket that was used for pizza sauce showing obvious "signs of contamination with dirt and mold” and "dead rats and rat droppings in the kitchen."

blogTO reported that previous inspections in March and June of this year found a long list of infractions, including failure to:

* ensure food is not contaminated/adulterated;

* use proper procedure(s) to ensure food safety;

* provide hand washing supplies; and,

* provide adequate pest control.

The Toronto Star reported that  this week’s discovery of rodents at a Spadina Ave. pizza shop and a bakery outlet at a subway station has put the spotlight on Toronto’s restaurant inspection program.

The pass-fail card system, in which a red card closes the eatery until problems are corrected, was set back by last summer’s 39-day civic workers’ strike and the fight against the H1N1 flu pandemic.

Inspectors have since been working hard to catch up.

Nearly every week in Toronto, an establishment is closed down temporarily for food safety infractions. There were 41 closures this year and 46 in 2008.

Those statistics indicate the city, which has some 16,000 restaurants, food stores and bakeries, is staying on top of the serious cases, said associate medical officer of health Dr. Howard Shapiro, who notes they inspect "probably a few hundred places a day."

Washington’s Breadline sandwich shop has food safety issues fan Jessica said I should do something on famed Washington, D.C. sandwich shop, Breadline.

I checked it out, and yeah, a number of D.C. outlets reported on the establishment’s closing, but the detailed inspection reports in the Washington City Paper were the best.

There’s a bunch of somewhat mundane inspection issues but the interesting food safety reading is near the end. Among the more disgusting infractions:

• a “display deli case maintaining a temperature of 82° F;”

• a dirty meat slicer (”old food particles present”) and a dirty potato chopper (ditto) as well as “debris throughout prep tables and prep table shelving;”

• improper cooling of chicken, chick pea spread, tuna salad, curry chicken salad, sliced turkey, ground beef, and cole slaw, all above the required 41° Fahrenheit threshold; and,

* a bread rack or other equipment blocked access to hand sinks. “Handsinks,” must be accessible at all times for proper handwashing.”