NEW ZEALAND: Closed restaurant required to display low inspection grade for two months

Currently living in New Zealand, and having the opportunity to travel around it, I’ve seen my fair share of restaurant inspection grades. Like many other developed countries, letter grades displayed at a food business are popular here, and are meant to relay food safety information to consumers.

In the Auckland region, where many districts have a grading system operating, some districts require a food business to display a low grade for a period of time after they’ve been closed due to risk to public health.


The owner of a west Auckland restaurant forced to close in May because of an infestation of mice has been found guilty and fined.

Waitakere City Council staff carried out a routine inspection of Hobsonville’s Sanjang restaurant earlier this year and were shocked to discover a serious rodent problem among dirty, unhygienic conditions.

Council contract solicitor David Collins, said,

"The officer determined there was a risk of food contamination and required the premises to close.”

"The owner contracted a registered pest control firm who treated the property the same day… The premises were allowed to reopen with an E grading the following day after re-inspection."

Council environmental compliance spokesman Alan Ahmu says the restaurant was only allowed to reopen after it was thoroughly cleaned and had to display an E grade for the next two months.

Mr Ahmu says Sanjang has just passed a reinspection and is now B grade.

I’m still waiting to meet Bret, Jemaine or Rhys from the popular New Zealand show Flight of the Conchords, pictured right.

UK: It’s a bummer heights high

Doug and Amy introduced me to what is now one of my favourite TV shows, up there with The Office, Arrested Development and Flight of the Conchords. Summer Heights High is an Australian mockumentary following the lives of highschool students. One of the main characters, Ja’mie (not to be confused with Jamie) has transferred for a year from a private school to attend Summer Heights High public school. On multiple occasions Ja’mie refers to how povo (poor) the public school is.

Students at a UK private school may have been better off attending a povo public school after five pupils became ill this past week, reports This is Croydon Today.

Cumnor House School, in Pampisford Road, South Croydon, has been hit by an outbreak of campylobacter – a bacteria that causes food poisoning.

Headteacher Peter Clare-Hunt insists there is no proof that the bug came from the school kitchen. But nevertheless environmental health officers who were called in to carry out an inspection have "reminded" the school about good hygiene practice.

Headteacher Hunt explained,

"We have had five confirmed cases of campylobacter which is a type of food poisoning. As soon as that was confirmed we underwent a visit from the food hygiene consultant and environmental health…"

"There is no safety issue with regards to school lunches. I would say 99 per cent of the boys, if not more, are having school lunches and can do so without any fear of risk whatsoever.


“In terms of tracing this back to the kitchen that will never be proved one way or the other."

All the boys who fell ill at the school, which takes pupils aged between four and 13, are now back in class "healthy and doing fine". Campylobacter is the most common cause of food poisoning and symptoms can include stomach cramps and severe diarrhoea. Anyone who contracts the bug is normally ill for two days to a week and infection can come from inadequate cooking of food to handling domestic pets. Infection from person to person contact is, however, uncommon.

Headteacher Hunt should focus on apologizing to the sick students rather than insisting his cafeteria couldn’t possibly be the source of illness.

Food safety month, tip number one

 Food safety month, has a nice ring to it, should be food safety year as more and more people are barfing from food related incidences and since we eat everyday. So, as I was perusing the streets of Winnipeg on my Vespa flying at a record fifty kilometers an hour, listening to the Flight of the Conchords for inspiration, first food safety tip dawned on me. Change your ragged dishcloth on a daily basis as they may harbor pathogenic bacteria. The dishcloth provides the perfect medium for bacterial growth which will eventually spread throughout the kitchen increasing the risk of foodborne illness. Analyses of these cloths have revealed extremely high bacterial loads coupled with significant numbers of mold and yeast. If you change your socks daily, shouldn’t you change your dishcloth?

Vilsack is Obama’s agriculture secretary – my kid farted

My kid just had this huge dump. Or a huge fart. Amy and I walked around in the snow this afternoon in our own sustainable transportation way, and when we got home I was holding her in the living room, and she passed gas for a good 30 seconds.

It was awesome.

I wouldn’t be much of a new parent if I didn’t talk about my kid’s bowel movements. And all this talk about the so-called sutainable ag community wanting some food porn type to be the agriculture secretary has me focused on baby farts.

Bob and Angelique brought us dinner and hung out – much better than baby wresting in a restaurant – and we were watching some Flight of the Conchords reruns. Murray the Manager had a poster in his office that said, New Zealand: Don’t expect too much and you will love it.

That’s how I feel about government appointments. Sure a political appointment can set a tone, make a fashion statement, but it’s not really going to change anything. And why wait for government – if you want to change something, go do it.