Fancy food ain’t safe food: Possible Salmonella infections at popular Brisbane eatery

Holly Hales of the Daily Mail reports a popular Vietnamese restaurant in Brisbane‘s trendy West-End has been accused of disregarding food safety laws after it was searched by health inspectors.   

It come after eight diners were left with a bad taste in their mouth after claiming a visit to the restaurant gave them food poisoning.

Trang Restaurant has previously found fame being named Brisbane’s best Vietnamese food but the new allegations claim defrosting raw chicken found underneath a sink was allegedly among discoveries made by inspectors during a visit to the premises.

Despite the allegations of contempt for food safety laws, Trang has retained a largely satisfied customer-base

The allegations come as council health inspectors filed a complaint in the Brisbane’s Magistrate’s Court accusing the eatery of skimping on food safety laws.

The Courier Mail also reports complaints filed in late February included sightings of infected food, which was found throughout the restaurant. 

It is thought the raid was catalysed by eight diners allegedly contracting salmonella after eating at the restaurant between February and March this year. 

Fancy food ain’t safe food: Salvatore’s Ristorante

A Merseyside, UK, restaurant owner has been fined hundreds of pounds after dead flies were found in pans of bolognese left out overnight.

Health inspectors who visited Salvatore’s Ristorante on Lord Street, Southport, which is rated #24 of 266 restaurants in Southport also found bird faeces in the extractor fan and out-of-date lasagne.

They also discovered utensils and fridge door seals encrusted in food debris and a large dead insect in a trifle.

Owner Salvatore Trecarichi, 66, of was today fined £750 by magistrates after pleading guilty to a string of food hygiene breaches.

South Sefton magistrates court was told council officers had visited the restaurant in June 2016 and found numerous hygiene issues. There was also no type of disinfectant product anywhere on the premises.

Trecarichi was given a 0 star hygiene rating and told to make improvements, but when inspectors returned a week later the bare minimum had been done.

Officers found areas were still unclean and greasy, with considerable damage to shelving and tiles.

On December 15, 2016 a further reinspection gave Salvatores a 3 star hygiene rating but when officers visited again on March 30 this year they were informed the business had changed its name.

Fancy food ain’t safe food: Science to back up anectodes

In the wonderful way the Intertubes can be used to reinforce pre-existing biases, a new paper in PLOS Currents Outbreaks validates what I – and anyone who knows anything about food safety – have been saying for a long time: Fancy food ain’t safe food.

heston_blumenthalIntroduction: Restaurant guides such as the Good Food Guide Top 50 create a hierarchy focussing on taste and sophistication. Safety is not explicitly included. We used restaurant associated outbreaks to assess evidence for safety.

Methods: All foodborne disease outbreaks in England reported to the national database from 2000 to 2014 were used to compare the Top 50 restaurants (2015) to other registered food businesses using the Public Health England (PHE) outbreak database. Health Protection Teams were also contacted to identify any outbreaks not reported to the national database. Among Good Food Guide Top 50 restaurants, regression analysis estimated the association between outbreak occurrence and position on the list.

Results: Four outbreaks were reported to the PHE national outbreak database among the Top 50 giving a rate 39 times higher (95% CI 14.5–103.2) than other registered food businesses. Eight outbreaks among the 44 English restaurants in the Top 50 were identified by direct contact with local Health Protection Teams. For every ten places higher ranked, Top 50 restaurants were 66% more likely to have an outbreak (Odds Ratio 1.66, 95% CI 0.89–3.13).

Discussion: Top 50 restaurants were substantially more likely to have had reported outbreaks from 2000-2014 than other food premises, and there was a trend for higher rating position to be associated with higher probability of reported outbreaks. Our findings, that eating at some of these restaurants may pose an increased risk to health compared to other dining out, raises the question of whether food guides should consider aspects of food safety alongside the clearly important complementary focus on taste and other aspects of the dining experience.

Taste and safety: Is the exceptional cuisine offered by high end restaurants paralleled by high standards of food safety?


Sanch Kanagarajah, Piers Mook, Paul Crook, Adedoyin Awofisayo-Okuyelu, Noel McCarthy

PLOS Currents Outbreaks. August 2016. Edition 1. doi: 10.1371/currents.outbreaks.007219ac3b9a2117418df7ab629686b6.

Taste and Safety: Is the Exceptional Cuisine Offered by High End Restaurants Paralleled by High Standards of Food Safety?

Fancy food ain’t safe food: Oysters at Wimbledon edition

Oysters are no longer being served at Wimbledon after a bout of food poisoning at a luxury hospitality tent chefed by the Roux family.

novak djokovic-cropped_1e5jl4dpdlhai17s03p0ksxskiAccording to the Daily Mail, the Gatsby Club’s exclusive clientele pay up to £5,000 for corporate packages which include a champagne reception and a three-course meal prepared by Britain’ s first celebrity chef, Albert Roux, 80.

And with such steep prices, guests are also offered a complimentary bar and oysters upon arrival.

But customers may no longer be getting their money’s worth after organisers were forced to suspend serving the delicacy when a number of guests reported falling sick.

One customer, who did not want to be named, said he was warned about the bout of sickness after dining there this week.

He said: ‘A friend of mine who is a steward rang me up to find out if we were okay.

‘He said over 100 people had been poisoned and they reckoned it was the oysters.

‘We ate at the Gatsby Club last year and it was excellent, but people need to know if they’re spending this much money.’

A Wimbledon spokesperson would not confirm the exact number of people that were effected but said it was ‘less than half’ of 100.

Fancy food ain’t safe food: Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant shuts down after 14 diners suffer food poisoning

A Michelin-starred restaurant in Japan has been ordered to shut temporarily after 14 people got food-poisoning on a fancy Japanese-style meal.

Kita Kamakura Saryo GentoanThe Kanagawa Prefectural Government said officials were investigating after six men and eight women complained of diarrhea and stomach pains after eating at Kita Kamakura Saryo Gentoan on June 11.

Among items on their menu were squid, jelly with sea urchin, pumpkin cooked with fish, eel and sweets, according to the prefecture.

A picturesque restaurant among the trees of Kamakura, a coastal town south of Tokyo, it was known for serving meals in quiet Japanese-style rooms.

The restaurant closed on its own on June 14. The prefecture’s order was made June 20 and remains effective until the cause is determined. Usually, such closures last a few days.

Fancy food ain’t safe food: Pakistan polo edition

 Expired food, chocked sinks and unhygienic conditions in the kitchen and food storage area have exposed high quality standards claimed by the management of a top restaurant located inside the Polo Ground, Race Course Park.

 polo.pakistanThe shocking truth was unveiled after a team of the Punjab Food Authority led by Food Safety Officer Nadeem Haleem visited the restaurant on Thursday evening. The team faced resistance from the management but it managed to enter the kitchen for inspection. In the meantime, the legal adviser of the restaurant came and asked the PFA team not to ask much questions from the kitchen staff.

 PFA officials said the kitchen the eatery, which was considered one of top restaurants, was similar to that an ordinary road-side eatery, dispelling general perception that restaurants serving the elite follow high standards of hygiene and food safety.

Fancy food ain’t safe food: esteemed New York markets fined for failing safety inspections

Foodies may hail Whole Foods in White Plains and H Mart in Hartsdale, but last year state inspectors failed both, giving them the region’s biggest fines for food safety violations.

The specialty markets, beloved by some shoppers for their vast aisles of organic and ethnic foods, were cited last year for improperly cleaned meat grinders and excessively WHOLEFOODS01scored cutting boards — critical violations that contributed to each store receiving fines of $3,000, state records obtained by The Journal News show.

The stores are among 1,495 establishments in Putnam, Rockland and Westchester visited over the past five years by inspectors from the state Department of Agriculture & Markets, the agency that regulates retailers selling and preparing food.

No matter how clean a store might appear to shoppers, state inspection records show that most venues end up with some kind of violation, usually for minor issues. State law requires that supermarkets be inspected annually.

“Ninety-seven percent of the larger supermarkets in (the) three-county area have passed our most recent inspection, which means there were no critical deficiencies,” said Steve Stich, director of food safety and inspection at the Department of Agriculture & Markets.

The state agency has about 95 inspectors who conduct more than 30,000 annual inspections statewide at all the food establishments and wholesale food manufacturers that hold state permits. The Journal News obtained dataon five years of inspections through a Freedom of Information Law request.

When bad things happen to good restaurants – New York City inspection disclosure edition of fancy food doesn’t mean safe food

NBC reports that the Health Department’s new restaurant grading program has already dinged some famous New York City establishments resulting in low grades.

Famed brasserie Les Halles has received 20 ‘violation points,’ which translates to a B. Inspectors found roaches and unprotected food in Les Halles’ kitchen, both critical violations. Poor plumbing and a lack of vermin-proofing were also listed on the Health Department’s Restaurant Inspection Information website.

Di Fara Pizzeria, considered to be one of the city’s top pizza restaurants, is just two violation points shy of a C. Three critical violations — mice, flies, and poor refrigeration or heating equipment — as well as three other violations brought its grade to 26 violation points.

McSorley’s Old Ale House and the Regency Hotel on Park Avenue have both received over 30 violation points. McSorley’s, the city’s oldest bar, received 38 points, including four critical violations for flies and "tobacco use, eating or drinking…in food preparation , storage, or dishwashing area." And the Regency Hotel, with 44 points, had six critical violations, including improperly sanitized utensils and food preparation surfaces, cross-contamination.

Of the 631 restaurants inspected since July 27, ninety-nine, or 16 percent have received As. Three hundred and five, or 48 percent, received Bs, and 227, or 36 percent, have received Cs. These initial grades can be appealed.

DNA Info reports a Barnes & Noble cafe received an "A" grade under the city’s new restaurant rating system, despite evidence of mice.

Health Department spokeswoman Celina De Leon said inspectors found a "small number of mice droppings" on the floor of the café adding,

"While this presents evidence of a problem, there was no evidence that the problem was widespread or had contaminated food.

Barney Greengrass, the legendary purveyor of smoked fish and bagels, racked up so many violations — 42 points — during a July 29 inspection that the restaurant could wind up with a C grade if it doesn’t correct problems.

Shake Shack’s Columbus Avenue location received 19 points during an April inspection, a score that would rate a B grade under the new system.

The burger joint was docked for having food that was "spoiled, adulterated, contaminated or cross-contaminated" and for "evidence of roaches."

Even fancy restaurants need to refrigerate sauces — cause toxins can kill

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that 81-year-old retiree William Hodgins died just 12 hours after dining with his wife, Audrey, at the upmarket Tables restaurant in Pymble on Friday, January 12 last year (right, pic from Sydney Morning Herald).

Inspector Dean Lindley of Hornsby police told Westmead Coroners Court yesterday that an investigation by the NSW Food Authority discovered Bacillus cereus in an asparagus cream sauce served to Hodgins and 14 other customers that night who had ordered the fish of the day, snapper.

It is alleged the sauce was up to 48 hours old when it was served to him.

Inspector Lindley said he was contacted by food inspector, Bryan Biffin, who said he had taken a sample of cream asparagus sauce he had found in the restaurant after police left. It had been served with the fish of the day.

"The sauce had subsequently been analysed by the Division of Analytical Laboratories and had been found to contain the pathogen Bacillus cereus at a level of 9.8 million parts … Mr Biffin informed me that the toxic level of this pathogen is 1 million parts … Biffin further stated that in his experience this pathogen thrives in an environment where the food is heated and cooled over a period of time. During the course of the investigation I came to the opinion that the deceased William Hodgins had eaten the asparagus sauce. The sauce at the time of consumption was contaminated by the pathogen Bacillus cereus after having been repeatedly subjected to temperature abuse in that it was heated and cooled a number of times over 48 hours by restaurant staff."

The restaurant co-owner and principal chef Kim de Laive told the court he had been holidaying on the South Coast that day and that his fellow chef, Douglas Gunn, had prepared the sauce dishes, including the cream asparagus, the night before for use that Friday.

He said it was the restaurant’s practice to dispose of asparagus sauce if it was exposed to room temperature for more than four hours, and was unaware that the Australian food standards required it to be disposed after two hours. Mr de Laive said he could only assume that one of the apprentices had put the sauce back into the fridge after its use earlier in the day and it had been taken out again that night but he had not asked any of the apprentices about it.

Way to blame the underlings, chef, especially since you apparently didn’t know the basics.

When the restaurant’s co-owner, Daniel Brukark, entered the witness box counsel for the Food Authority counsel, Patrick Saidi, revealed the authority was prosecuting Mr Brukark’s company, Dan Brook Investments, for failing to place labels with dates on its sauce containers, an offence which carries a two-year prison term if a director or chef is convicted.

Fancy food does not mean safe food: Whole Foods and golf club edition

Napa’s new Whole Foods received an F grade in its first county food facility inspection.

Store manager David Cosper said the market’s sheer size and diversity of offerings may have contributed towards the failing grade, which Whole Foods took steps to fix “immediately."

The major violations included improper handwashing and use of gloves at a hot counter area, improper hot and cold holding temperatures in several food areas and lack of availability of hot or cold water at two sinks. Other violations included improper handling of food and food storage, uncovered containers and missing sneeze guards.

In Virginia, the Daily Press reports that Ford’s Colony, a popular gated community in James City County complete with a 200-acre wildlife preserve, a wine cellar with 1,600 labels and three 18-hole golf courses, has also, on occasion, been home to poorly dated food, meat kept at improper temperatures and employees who were caught not washing their hands.

Ford’s Colony is hardly the only private club with health violations in Hampton Roads. Country clubs, yacht clubs and golf clubs with exclusive memberships from James City to Suffolk have all recently received critical marks that belie the air of posh living these communities pride themselves on.

It’s like Ben and I discovered during the halfway point of a food safety golf tournament in Baltimore in 2005, when a burley, 50-ish goateed he-man requested his hamburger be cooked, "Bloody … with cheese."

His sidekick piped up, "Me too."

I asked the kid flipping burgers if he had a meat thermometer.

He replied, snickering, "Yeah, this is a pretty high-tech operation."

The young woman taking orders glanced about, and then confided that she didn’t think there was a meat thermometer anywhere in the kitchen; this, at a fancy golf course catering to weddings and other swanky functions along with grunts on the golf course.