Texas health officials fine Blue Bell a little following Listeria outbreak

Karen Robinson-Jacobs of Dallas News reports Blue Bell Creameries has been fined $850,000 by Texas health officials as a penalty for a Listeria outbreak, announced last year, that sickened 10 people and lead to a total shut down of company operations.

blue.bell.jul.15Three people died, but the company may only end up paying a fraction of that amount.

Under an enforcement agreement announced Friday between Brenham-based Blue Bell and the Texas Department of State Health Services, $175,000 must be paid within 30 days. The remaining $675,000 will be paid only if the company violates the terms of the agreement in an 18-month period, according to the state agreement.

Assuming all goes well with monitoring and testing, “upon successful completion of the eighteen-month term, the remaining balance of funds held in abeyance will be forgiven by” the state, the agreement said. 

Officials with Blue Bell could not be reached for comment.

Attorney Bill Marler, who specializes in representing victims of food-borne illness, said he thinks the fact that Blue Bell was hit with a fine is noteworthy.

“If it is $1 or $1 million, I think any fine for producing bad food sends a powerful message,” said Marler. “Any fine is very unusual. That is why any amount is significant. “

He said he has not heard whether any fines were levied by Oklahoma or Alabama, home to additional Blue Bell plants, but added “I would imagine they will.”

Under the agreement, makers of the iconic Texas brand will continue to test and monitor the ice cream following last year’s outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes linked to Blue Bell products made in Brenham.  

Research firm PrivCo estimated that, due to the recall, Blue Bell’s 2015 sales plummeted by nearly 60 percent to $288 million.

Brisbane Chinese restaurant fined after customer finds piece of metal scourer in fried rice

A Brisbane Chinese restaurant that served fried rice containing a piece of a metal scourer that lodged in the throat of a female customer has been fined $23,000.

Bamboo Basket restaurant at Portside, in HamiltonBamboo Basket restaurant at Portside, in Hamilton, also was twice found to have live cockroaches by Brisbane City Council officers last year.

Maxine Dosen coughed up the piece of metal from the scourer and was rushed to a hospital emergency to check that she had not swallowed more.

Brisbane magistrate Judith Daley said while it was not known how the piece of metal got into the food, a chef was in the habit of using the scourer to clean a wok during cooking.

Ms Daley said there would have been a real risk that part of the scourer could fall off.

She said after the incident the chef continued to use the metal scourer, despite staff being told not to do so.

 “It all happened so quickly,’’ Ms Dosen told The Courier-Mail last year.

 “I put this fried rice in my mouth and suddenly felt something sharp, like a prawn shell, go down my throat.

 scrubber.chinese.food.jun.16“I tried to bring it back up my throat and pulled this long, curly thing out of my mouth.’’

Felix Ip, a director of family-owned business Lafeco, which owns Bamboo Basket, pleaded guilty to five Brisbane City Council charges.

Apart from a charge of selling unsafe food, there also were charges relating to grime, failing to take precautions to prevent pests and having live cockroaches in the restaurant.


Mermaid Beach Bangkok Thai owner has ordered to pay more than $20,000

Mermaid Beach is a lovely spot on Australia’s Gold Coast.

Vinya Chantra.bankok.thaiThis Thai restaurant, not so much.

Alexandria Utting of the Gold Coast Bulletin reports Mermaid Beach restaurant Bangkok Thai was the subject of legal proceedings in the Southport Magistrates Court after business owner Vinya Chantra (right) and the company to which he is a director, Chantra Enterprises, were charged with three counts of failing to comply with food standards codes.

The charges came after council inspectors found the popular Thai restaurant in a “gross level of filth” with food waste, dirt, grime and rodent droppings on tables used to prepare food.

The court heard the restaurant had received improvement notices for cleanliness on several occasions since September 2012, but had only paid one fine of $580 for a breach of food safety laws in 2015.

Magistrate John Costanzo individually fined Chantra $2,955 for allowing food safety breaches in his business.

He was also ordered to pay $1,250 to council in costs and $89.90 for the filing of court documents.

The company Chantra Enterprises was separately fined $14,725, as well as costs and filing fees.

£30k fine slapped on UK Indian takeway owner after pools of blood found in freezer

A takeaway boss has been forced to pay out more than £33,000 after health inspectors found pools of blood in a freezer and cobwebs on light fittings at his business.

Maya takeaway Salik Mohammed Miah, 42, the owner of Maya takeaway in Polesworth, was handed one of the largest fines in the history of North Warwickshire Borough Council after a catalogue of hygiene horrors were exposed during an inspection.

Uncovered boxes of prawns, chicken and rice were also discovered along with containers of curry sauce stored on the floor and a dirty sink containing disgusting cloths and sponges.

UK supermarket giant admits selling out of date food

This isn’t best-before dates, which are a guideline: this is use-by dates, which are a food safety requirement.

a-sign-outside-a-branch-of-the-uk-supermarket-chain-co-operative-food-d6m1fgSupermarket giant Co-operative Food has pleaded guilty to stocking food as much as 10 days past its use-by date at a Pangbourne store.

Representatives of the former Somerfield store at The Square, Pangbourne, were at West Berkshire Magistrate’s Court on April 21.

The group, now owned by the Co-op, pleaded guilty to contravening food safety requirements.

The offence related to an unannounced inspection in March, which found a number of food items on the market that were unsafe as use-by dates had expired.

Prosecuting, Sarah Clarke of West Berkshire Council’s legal services, said: “Officers identified 10 items of food that were past their use-by-date.”

She said that two of the items – both soups – were 10 days past the maximum date when they could be safely eaten, and one other was five days out of date.

The court heard that the Co-op has in place procedures and training to identify and check foods that are at the end of their life.

However, when trading standards investigated they found that certain procedures had not been followed, including a crucial close of business check.

Ms Clarke said: “The COB check hadn’t been completed on any day during that week.

“Store colleagues should have completed processes in line with procedures and staff should have raised this to the manager.”


Australian sushi restaurant fined $40,000

Inspectors found cockroaches in the microwave and freezer at a sushi bar in Brighton, Melbourne, as well as mouldy, grimy surfaces and toxic pest control products near the soy sauce, leading to a $40,000 fine.

Owner Sarah Nguyen, 36, pleaded guilty to more than 30 charges for substandard practices at her sushi bar after it was raided following a customer complaint.

Council officers found unrefrigerated chicken, dirty conditions and sushi stored above regulated temperatures.

They cited 11 non-compliant inspections at the premises over 11 months, according to Nine News. 

The Moorabbin Magistrates’ Court heard that Ms Nguyen kept the eatery in appalling conditions which posed a ‘public safety risk’. 

As the sole proprietor, Nguyen will be footing the entire bill.

Food fraud: Skimping Halal butchers in UK slapped with £15,000 fine for lacing lamb mince with cheap beef

A skimping Halal butchers has been slapped with a £15,000 fine after being caught selling ‘lamb’ mince laced with cheap beef.

halal.jpg-pwrt3Master Halal Meat butchers in Ayres Road, Old Trafford, was found guilty of two counts of food fraud at Trafford Magistrates Court April 1.

The discovery was made after Trafford Council’s Environmental Health Officers sampled produce from a number of food outlets across the borough in the wake of the UK horse meat scandal in 2015.

During the inspections, a sample lamb pattie taken from a bakery was found to contain just 50 per cent lamb. The owners insisted they were not responsible and pointed to their supplier, Master Halal Meat.

Two samples of ‘lamb’ mince were taken directly from the supplier in March 2015 and were found to contain 50 per cent beef and 30 per cent beef respectively.

When interviewed by officers, director of Master Halal Meat, Abdul Fadel, blamed the shop manager and said he had recently been sacked.

The officers returned to the shop two months later and took a further sample of ‘lamb’ mince.

The sample was again found to contain 50 per cent beef, leaving officers no choice but to prosecute Fadel.

Disgusting conditions at UK curry house with pools of blood and cobwebs leads to £33,000 fine

A takeaway boss has been forced to pay out more than £33,000 after health inspectors found pools of blood in a freezer and cobwebs on light fittings at his business.

Maya takeaway in PolesworthSalik Mohammed Miah, 42, the owner of Maya takeaway in Polesworth, was handed one of the largest fines in the history of North Warwickshire Borough Council after a catalogue of hygiene horrors were exposed during an inspection.

Uncovered boxes of prawns, chicken and rice were also discovered along with containers of curry sauce stored on the floor and a dirty sink containing disgusting cloths and sponges.

The inspectors also found the fridge and freezer were running at dangerously high temperatures and there were no food safety procedures and no food labelling – despite previous council advice having been provided, the Coventry Telegraph reported.

UK pub bosses fined £30k after rat droppings found in filthy storeroom

Bosses at a filthy pub have been ordered to pay over £30,000 after inspectors found rat droppings in its storerooms.

grapes.inn.fineThe disgusting find certainly wasn’t on the menu of Scaling Dam’s The Grapes Inn, which has now been closed to protect the public.

The shocking state of the struggling pub’s kitchen came after a council investigation found everything from out-of-date food to leaking fridges.

Pictures of the kitchen even appear to show dead bugs left near the food.

On its website the Scaling Dam boozer boasts of “providing proper pub grub offering real value for money”, charging punters £40 for the teatime special.

Now landlord Mark Miles has been given food for thought after being fined £30,894 at Teesside Magistrates’ Court.

He admitted 11 food safety and hygiene offences on Wednesday following an investigation by Redcar and Cleveland Council.

UK Indian restaurant fined £6,000 over filthy kitchen

An Indian restaurant has been fined more than £6,000 after failing to clean its filthy kitchen – despite several warnings.

passage-to-indiaOwners of Passage to India in Whitby pleaded guilty to four offences, including failing to keep the restaurant and takeaway clean, failing to keep equipment clean, not having a food safety management system, and not protecting food against contamination.

Scarborough Borough Council brought the case against the restaurant after a routine inspection of the premises found the state of the kitchen could cause a risk to human health.

The council’s environmental health officer found the state of the kitchen to be unacceptable, with filth surrounding units, appliances and the floor, Scarborough magistrates were told.