Is this really the worst thing about eating at Golden Corral? Franchise accused of unsanitary practices

A hallmark of the annual golf trip was a visit to the Golden Corral in Newport News, Virginia, at the insistence of our host.

It’s where Chapman got his nickname that didn’t stick – sweet tea.

Now, a Golden Corral franchise is being accused of improper food handling after photos and a video surfaced online that claim to show naylor.golfunsanitary conditions at the nationwide buffet chain.

Separately, a Reddit user named GCWhistleblower posted photos purporting to show a different Golden Corral kitchen overflowing with garbage and food.

Employee Brandon Huber posted a video on Youtube, taken while he worked at a location near Port Orange, Fla., which shows raw hamburger patties swarmed by flies near the restaurant’s dumpster.

“I’m an employee here, been working here for a long time, and I don’t feel that this is right,” Huber says to the camera. “I mean look at it, what do you think?”

“Let me show you just how disgusting this is,” Huber continues, as the camera pans to reveal stacks of food next to the dumpsters including raw baby back ribs, green bean casserole, pot roast, chicken, ham, and bacon.

A statement provided to the website Consumerist via Eric Holm at Metro Corral Partners, a franchisee who owns several Golden Corral locations in Florida and Georgia, including the Port Orange location, reads:

“A video was recently posted showing an incident of improper food handling at our Port Orange, Fla., location. None of these items were served to a single customer. All were destroyed within the hour at the direction of management. Brandon Huber, the employee who made the video, participated in the disposal of the food.

The following day, the father of the employee, allegedly posted an offer to sell the video for $5,000, which was not accepted.

The manager involved in the improper storage was terminated for failing to follow approved food handling procedures,” Holm’s statement said.

Barf in dining area and other food safety failures: 305 sickened in Wyoming Gloden Corral norovirus outbreak

At least 305 individuals became ill with norovirus gastroenteritis after patronizing Golden Corral in Casper, WY from November 17, 2012 through December 19, 2012.

The Wyoming Department of Health has issued a complete report on the outbreak, and identified a number of potential environmental health concerns golden-corralthrough both patron and employee interviews.

Investigators received several reports of dirty dishes being stacked for use in the buffet line, vomitus accidents in the dining area, raw or undercooked food being set out for consumption, employees working while ill with gastrointestinal symptoms, refilling food on buffets without replacing service bowl or service utensils, lack of glove use when handling ready-to-eat foods, cross-contamination between raw and cooked foods, and other reports of general poor food-handling practices.

Both patrons and employees independently reported several vomitus accidents in the dining area and in the restaurant’s bathrooms. Investigators noted these events when the interviewee was able to provide a concise date of occurrence.

Recommendations were made for immediate control and as a result of the investigation.

 The restaurant must follow all rules and regulations contained in the Wyoming Food Safety Rule.

 The Wyoming Food Safety Rule currently states that any food-handling staff person who is known to be ill due to gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea or vomiting should be excluded from work until at least 48 hours has passed since that individual’s last bout of diarrhea or vomiting (whichever occurred last). The 48 hour recommendation is the minimum, as many norovirus-21foodborne pathogens, including norovirus, can be shed by previously-ill persons for longer than 48 hours.

 The Wyoming Food Safety Rule also specifies that the restaurant shall require food-handling employees (i.e., kitchen staff, servers, etc.) to report to the person-in-charge information about their health and activities as they relate to diseases that are transmissible through food. A food-handling employee shall report the information in a manner that allows the person-in-charge to reduce the risk of foodborne disease transmission, including providing necessary additional information, such as date of onset of symptoms and illness, or of a diagnosis with symptoms if the food-handling employee has diarrhea, vomiting, jaundice, sore throat with fever or lesions containing pus, an infected wound, has been diagnosed with Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli, Hepatitis, or norovirus.

 Enhanced surface disinfection with a product effective against norovirus. A concentrated bleach solution was suggested.

 To minimize bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods, such as lettuce, the restaurant should consider requiring the use of gloves when employees are handling those food items. Please note that glove use does not negate the need for proper hand-washing.

 All vomitus accidents should be treated as if they are highly contagious. Staff should use gloves and a concentrated bleach solution to disinfect affected areas. Staff should try to quarantine the area of the accident until the area is adequately disinfected. Staff should quarantine any rags, towels, or mops that were used to clean up the vomitus until they are adequately disinfected to prevent further transmission.

 Report any suspected cases of foodborne illness to health officials. Public health officials provide important services to business owners which include an objective investigation of the problem and providing quick, accurate, and effective mitigation strategies.

 Continue to consult with local environmental health specialists when questions arise about safe food-handling and consider ServSafe training for all kitchen staff.

167 now sick with norovirus from Golden Corral in Wyoming

The Golden Corral restaurant in east Casper is closed until at least dinnertime Friday after a suspected foodborne virus outbreak at the location affected more than 150 people, according to David Giesen, president of franchisee Golden DBL Inc. of Denver.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports the restaurant was closed Thursday afternoon. Giesen said the shutdown is voluntary while staff members clean and disinfect the restaurant and the Natrona County Health Department continues its investigation.

Natrona County Health Department Director Bob Harrington said Thursday that 167 people have reported being ill after eating at the restaurant this past week.

Harrington said health department officials are interviewing Golden Corral employees as part of their investigation, trying to nail down whether the restaurant is the cause of the norovirus outbreak.

Meanwhile, he said the restaurant is conducting a top-to-bottom cleaning and disinfection.

Harrington said department officials will return Friday to conduct a final inspection so the restaurant can open for dinner.

Golden Corral restaurant leading suspect in Casper foodborne-illness outbreak

Another feature of the annual golf trip to Newport News, Virginia, was at least one dinner at Golden Corral.

Golden Corral is a chain restaurant that encapsulates the essence of American excess, specifically, endless, cheap food.

The golf trip organizer, Jeff, a man of Chris Christie proportions, made attendance at the Golden Corral dinner a prerequisite for participation on the trip: no Golden Corral, stay at home.

But there can be problems with that volume of food being served.

According to the Wyoming Billings-Gazette, more than 50 reports of foodborne illness have been made to the Natrona County Health Department this week and fingers are pointing to the Golden Corral restaurant in east Casper as the source of the outbreak.

Health department director Bob Harrington and other department officials conducted an on-site inspection at the restaurant Wednesday. There were sanitation inspections and interviews with employees and management. The Denver-based owner of the restaurant was on location throughout the day working with Health Department officials.

“We are doubling down on all of our safety and sanitary procedures that are normally done,” said David Giesen, president of franchisee Golden DBL Inc. of Denver.

Giesen said he had been cooperating with the Health Department’s investigation.

“Food safety is our highest priority,” he said.

Harrington and Giesen said the cause of the outbreak cannot definitively be connected to the restaurant. It could be a normal virus affecting the community at large, Giesen said.

The department is interviewing people and collecting specimens in its investigation and should have the results in a week, Harrington said.

“We’re pretty close to calling it a virus,” Harrington said. “If it’s what we think it is, it’s norovirus.”

Reports of vomiting and diarrhea have been widespread in Casper, and linking the people, time frame and exposure is what takes a while, Harrington said.

Brain Beall and his family went to the restaurant on Saturday night.

“Early Sunday morning and in the afternoon my entire family was sick,” he said.

They had norovirus symptoms, he said.

When Beall went to pick up a plate at the buffet line, he noticed the bottom was dirty. He picked up more than 25 plates — all were dirty with the remains of food, he said. He spoke to an employee.

“He told me the dishwasher was broken,” Beall said.

Beall lives in Douglas and said the Casper food poisoning outbreak is the talk of the town. He was in a local grocery store Wednesday morning and spoke with four other people who went to Golden Corral over the weekend and became ill.

Even after they saw the unsanitary conditions, Beall said he and his family still ate at the restaurant.

“I am kicking myself in the butt for that. I should have walked away,” he said.