Sprout grower recalls product 19 days after judge forces closure

On March 3, 2016, a federal court ordered Henry’s Farm Inc. of Woodford, Virginia, to close because of repeated contamination of its raw sprouts.

henrys_recalled_sproutsOn March 22, 2016, the same company recalled all packages of soybean sprouts because they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The following products are being recalled by the firm:

1-lb bags of soybean sprouts in clear plastic bags labeled “Natto Soybean Sprouts” “Keep Refrigerated” with a UPC Code of 1303020000 produced on or after March 1, 2016.

10-lb bags of soybean sprouts in black plastic bags labeled “Soy Bean Sprouts” “Keep Refrigerated” produced on or after March 1, 2016.
These items were distributed to retail stores in Virginia and Maryland.

The contamination was discovered through surveillance and monitoring coordinated by the Virginia Rapid Response Team (RRT), Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) Food Safety Program and subsequent analysis by the Virginia Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services (DCLS) that revealed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in the products. No illness has been reported to date.

Philly restaurant ordered shut for shit – but keeps serving

McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood and Steaks, a favorite lunch destination of Center City bankers and Philadelphia city officials, was issued an order to cease and desist operations this week after an inspector discovered “wastewater backing up into the establishment” and “nonpotable water” leaking from the kitchen ceiling.

McCormick & Schmick'sThough the restaurant managers agreed to immediately shut down on Wednesday until repairs were complete, business went on as usual.

“We never closed,” said a floor manager who answered the phone on Thursday. She declined to provide her name.

Asked why the restaurant had continued to operate without interruption, a corporate official for the restaurant chain issued a statement.

“We acted swiftly to resolve the situation, and as a result were able to remain open,” said Howard Cole, senior vice president and chief operating officer of McCormick & Schmick’s. “The location has passed all compliance inspections. It is important to us at McCormick & Schmick’s that food safety measures are instituted and followed.”

In his report, health sanitarian Terrance Carter said there was “a foul odor in the establishment” during the Wednesday inspection.

When Carter asked about the wastewater standing in the sinks and on the floor, the person in charge explained that a plumber had been called “several days” before, but no one had shown up. Carter advised the restaurant to call again immediately, according to the report.

Jim Chan, the recently retired manager of Toronto’s DineSafe program, reviewed the inspection document at the request of the Inquirer.

“Wow, what a bad report!” said Chan. “It shows that they did not check and correct food safety and sanitation issues until the inspection. They sat and waited until being told to get things done.”

jim.chanChan said he was disturbed at the mention of the foul odor.

“When you say that, you’re saying there’s a possibility of sewage,” he said. “If it’s just water backing up, you don’t smell a foul odor.”

In most North American cities, an order to cease and desist requires management to shut down the business promptly and tell all patrons to leave, Chan said.

A spokesman for the Philadelphia health department was unable to explain why McCormick & Schmick’s had remained open.

For years in Philadelphia, restaurants have been able to ignore cease and desist orders. In mid-February, the city announced it had given health inspectors the power to shut down an eatery without calling in the department of Licenses & Inspections.

Those powers will go into effect sometime this month.

‘Breaches completely avoidable’ 15 food businesses closed in Ireland last month

Eight restaurants across the country were hit by closure orders by Ireland’s food safety watchdog last month.

fsaiThe Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) issued the orders to nine food businesses in Dublin and one each in Cork, Kerry, Waterford, Tipperary, Wexford and Roscommon.

Commenting on the high level of orders served in October, Professor Alan Reilly of the FSAI, warns that the legal onus is on food businesses to act responsibly and ensure that the food they serve and sell is safe to eat.

“While most food businesses follow high standards and are compliant with food safety legislation, we continue to encounter cases where consumers’ health is jeopardised through a failure to comply with food safety and hygiene requirements. These breaches are completely avoidable when food businesses have proper food safety management systems in place.”

Record 64 food outlets forced to shut in Ireland in 2011

Rodent droppings, maggots on meat and putrid fish were just some of the nasties found by health inspectors in food businesses last year.

Documents obtained by the Irish Independent reveal how 2011 was the worst year on record for food safety infringements, with a record number of premises forced to close because they posed a grave risk to public health. Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) figures show that 64 restaurants, pubs, shops and other food businesses were served with closure orders last year — the highest tally since it was established in 1999.

But the statistics only tell part of the story, as documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal the gory details behind the closures.
Maggots and mouldy meat at one foodstore led to the closure of its butchery department in April.

An environmental health inspector issued a closure order that remains in force to the butchery section of Cahill’s foodstore in Crookstown, Co Cork, after discovering problems including dirty bloodstained walls and flies.

"Maggots were found on the meat debris collected in the tray under the cutting plate. The meat debris, which had not been removed for some time, was hard, dried out and clumped together and mouldy," the order stated.

Out-of-date food was a recurring problem at many outlets, with putrid meat and fish leading to a closure order being served on Charlie Stewarts/Seasons 52 in Parnell St, Ennis, Co Clare, in March.

"Large volumes of malodourous meat and fish were found in refrigerated storage, which had become putrid and were clearly in advanced stages of decomposition," the order said.

Getting more ‘granularity’ into San Francisco’s restaurant grades

San Francisco is playing catch up with its California brethren and has finally decided to post closure notices on restaurants considered to be health hazards.

Mission Local reports the president of the Health Commission also promised to propose further policy changes to boost restaurant inspections and help diners more easily find a restaurant’s health score.

That don’t mean much.

Dr. Rajiv Bhatia, San Francisco’s director of occupational and environmental health, said,

“We serve the entire population of the city,” underscoring the need for information regarding health code compliance to be made publicly available.

After the meeting, Bhatia said he would advocate for more transparency within the food safety inspection program, including posting inspection scores within five feet of a restaurant’s entrance — which is the policy in cities such as Los Angeles and New York.

In 2004, Supervisor Chris Daly advocated a letter-grade system for restaurant inspections, which Los Angeles and now New York use. The system would have ranked restaurants by a series of letter grades from A to D, based on health code compliance, and would have required them to post that grade in plain view. The executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association at the time called the grades “scarlet letters.”

The ordinance faced stiff opposition and was ultimately defeated. The present scoring system was a compromise resulting from that effort, Bhatia said. The system offers more granularity into a restaurant’s health code practices, he said, but conceded that “scores are imperfect.”