Everyone moves on just takes awhile: Longest running Pizza Hut closing this weekend in Manhattan

A Pizza Hut in Manhattan (Kansas) that has been at its original location longer than any Pizza Hut in the nation will close this weekend in Manhattan.

Pizza-hut-logoCompany officials announced Tuesday the Pizza Hut in Manhattan’s Aggieville will close at 11 p.m. Sunday. It began operating there in 1960.

Pizza Hut was founded in 1958 by two Wichita State University students. After the original Pizza Hut in Wichita moved, the Manhattan location became the oldest still operating at its original site.

Workers at trendy NYC brunch spot forced to poop in cup

The New York Post reports that workers at the trendy Manhattan restaurant, Freemans, were forced to hand over stool samples to the Department of Health — after a pregnant customer reported she contracted a foodborne illness at the eatery.

freeman's.noroThe Lower East Side brunch hot-spot — which boasts celebrity clients and hour-long waits — was investigated for an outbreak of norovirus, a Department of Health spokesman said.

During the probe, workers were asked to do their business in a cup to prove they were free of the virus, which causes vomiting and diarrhea sources said.

“They came and checked everything yesterday…They tested everyone… [They took] stool samples,” a worker told The Post with a sheepish grin on Thursday.

The virus is contracted through fecal matter and person-to-person contact and effects roughly 20 million people every year.

A spokesman for the restaurant claimed the health department found no sign of norovirus.

“The Dept of Health did look into this at Freemans and have concluded their findings and ended their investigation and found no link or transmission of any kind at the restaurant,” said restaurant rep Eden Grimaldi.

“Freemans remains open, with an A rating,” Grimaldi added.

Fancy food doesn’t mean safe food: Ritz-Carlton edition

Diners at the Ritz-Carlton may not want to know what goes on behind the storied hotel kitchen’s closed doors.

Mathew Katz of DNAinfo reports that New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene data show the Ritz-Carlton has the second-worst kitchen in Manhattan and the 13th dirtiest in the city, getting hit with 77 violation points during a June 17 inspection. The hotel houses BLT restaurant and the Star Lounge.

It was not clear on the DOH website if the kitchen supplies one or both of the eateries.

The most recent inspection found six critical violations for sloppy and "unacceptable" conditions, including poorly refrigerated foods, evidence of flies, cross-contamination between cooked and raw meat, and poor hygiene among kitchen workers, the DOH website said.

"The health and safety of our guests in our highest concern," said David Taylor, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing. "We’ve taken immediate action to rectify the situation and are working with diligence to maintain our brand standards."

The (silly) Great Food Truck Race rolls into Manhattan

The Pitch reports that eight food trucks hit the road, and one rolls home with $100,000 in prize money. That’s the premise for the second season of the six-city, six-week show, The Great Food Truck Race, that is currently being filmed for the Food Network.

And the remaining trucks stopped in Manhattan (Kansas) over the weekend.

We wandered over to several of the trucks on Sunday and we’re  agog at the long lines – didn’t lots of people leave town after graduation Sunday?

I asked one of the camera dudes if this was the normal turnout and he said, “I’ve never seen lines this long. Guess in L.A. they’ve got 2,000 food trucks. Maybe it’s a novelty here.”

I wasn’t waiting in line with a two-year-old, or Sorenne, and couldn’t see much in the way of food safety because everything took place inside a truck. And most items seemed to be heavily cooked or fried.

Jaax discusses agroterrorism, NBAF

Geni Wren of the Drovers CattleNetwork interviewed the dashing Jerry Jaax, DVM, ACLAM, associate vice president for research compliance and veterinarian at Kansas State University, at the 4th FBI International Symposium on Agroterrorism in Kansas City, Mo.

Dr. Jaax discussed agroterrorism and the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) that is planned for Manhattan (the one in Kansas).

Nikki Marcotte: Some Manhattan restaurants sloppy with food safety

In the month of September, there were three Manhattan (Kansas) restaurants that received five critical violations or more during routine food safety inspections by the state.

On September 20, 2010. HuHot Mongolian Barbecue in the Manhattan Town Center received nine critical violations for issues such as employees not properly washing their hands, bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food during preparation, improperly sanitizing food contact and preparation areas, and improper cold holding temperatures.

On September 22, Chili’s Bar & Grill received eight critical violations for things like employees improperly washing their hands, improperly sanitizing food contact and preparation areas, improper cold holding temperatures, and failing to post their license within the establishment.

On September 28, Pat’s Blue Ribbon Barbecue in Aggieville received nine critical violations for employees not properly washing their hands, improperly sanitizing food contact and preparation areas, and not marking correct dates on food storage containers.

Follow-up inspections have been or will be conducted sometime this month.

Food safety auditors can suck: Salmonella-in-egg producer got A-OK from same auditor that OKed salmonella in peanut paste

The same third-party auditor that approved salmonella-tainted peanut paste that killed nine and sickened 600 also gave DeCoster egg operations a “superior” rating and “recognition of achievement” in June 2010, just as thousands of Americans began barfing from salmonella in DeCoster eggs.

Beyond the theatre of yesterday’s House hearing about the salmonella-in-eggs outbreak that has sickened well over 1,600 was the revelation that DeCoster’s Iowa egg operations had been audited by the American Institute of Baking based in Manhattan (Kansas).

The N.Y. Times reports that documents released by the committee showed that Wright County Egg achieved a “superior” rating and “recognition of achievement” from AIB International, a private inspection company based in Manhattan, Kan., after a June inspection of its processing facility. That came just as the company was causing thousands of illnesses from contaminated eggs.

In 2008, AIB gave a “superior” rating to a Peanut Corporation of America plant in Blakely, Ga., that was later found to be riddled with salmonella that caused a nationwide outbreak and the largest food recall in American history. A spokesman for AIB could not be reached.

Elizabeth Weise of USA Today reported today that Wright County Egg, one of the Iowa farms at the center of this summer’s recall of 550 million eggs, earned "superior" ratings for its facilities from a third-party auditor the past three years.

But the auditor was the same one that gave a superior rating to the Peanut Corp. of America, whose shipments were linked to a salmonella outbreak that sickened hundreds a few years ago.

AIB International, of Manhattan, Kan., audited Wright’s egg-packing plant twice in 2008, four times in 2009 and at least once in 2010, and every time found it to be "superior," Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., said during the hearing. … Calls to AIB were not returned Wednesday.

AIB International also gave the Peanut Corp. of America’s Plainview, Texas, plant a "superior" rating. An outbreak of salmonella linked to some peanut products shipped from that plant and another PCA plant in 2007 and 2008 sickened as many as 600 people and may have contributed to nine deaths.

This is beyond embarrassing. It’s criminal.

A Kansas State student wrote in 2009 that after a March 6, 2009 article in the N.Y. Times sorta shattered the myth of third-party food safety audits, he couldn’t get anyone at AIB to talk.

Since the release of the Times article, AIB now requires a minimum of two days or longer to complete an inspection at a food processing facility. AIB has also announced it will change the name of its Good Manufacturing Practices inspection certificates from “Certificate of Achievement” to “Recognition of Achievement.”

Is that like Homer Simpson winning the First Annual Montgomery Burns Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence?

Apparently, the answer is yes, given the salmonella-in-eggs poopfest.

Third-party food audits, like restaurant inspection, are a snapshot in time. Given the international sourcing of ingredients, audits are a requirement, but so is internal food safety intelligence to make sense of audits that are useful and audits that are chicken poop.

The third-party food safety audit scheme that processors and retailers insisted upon is no better than a financial Ponzi scheme. The vast number of facilities and suppliers means audits are required, but people have been replaced by paper.

Audits, inspections, training and systems are no substitute for developing a strong food safety culture, farm-to-fork, and marketing food safety directly to consumers rather than the local/natural/organic hucksterism is a way to further reinforce the food safety culture.

After the salmonella-in-peanut paste crap, Costco, a retail store, which previously limited AIB’s inspections to its bakery vendors, has now instructed suppliers to not use AIB at all.

“The American Institute of Baking is bakery experts,” said R. Craig Wilson, the top safety official at Costco. “But you stick them in a peanut butter plant or in a beef plant, they are stuffed.”

Or as Mansour Samadpour of Seattle said at the time,

“The contributions of third-party audits to food safety is the same as the contribution of mail-order diploma mills to education.”

Who were the buyers of DeCoster eggs who used AIB audits to justify putting salmonella on grocery store shelves? Any retailers want to step forward?

Coincidentally, Enreco Inc., a maker of flaxseed flours, bragged in a press release yesterday they had earned a “superior" rating from a recent AIB inspection at its Wisconsin production facility.

Enreco president Sean Moriarty said, “We are absolutely pleased to have achieved AIB’s highest rating for four consecutive years now, even while incidents of food product recalls in the last two years have caused AIB to toughen their inspections considerably."

Sean, you may want to rethink that PR.

Nikki Marcotte: critical violations at Manhattan (Kansas) restaurants in August

On Aug. 17, 2010, the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s Division of Food Safety and Lodging inspected Mr. K’s Cafe, located at 3901 Vanesta in the Grand Mere district, and cited them for seven critical violations including improper cold holding temperatures, improperly storing chemicals above food preparation areas, and improperly cleaning and sanitizing food contact surfaces.

Details reveal Mr. K’s was cited because mold was found in the ice machine, the meat slicer and tomato slicer weren’t cleaned properly and were found with bits of dried food on them, pretty much all the food in the cooler was stored at a temperature of 50 degrees F, and butane fuel was found stored over their food prepping areas.

On Aug. 19, KDA visited the Chinese Chef restaurant located at 2704 Anderson Avenue. The establishment was cited for ten critical violations including failure to properly wash and sanitize hands, improperly cleaning and sanitizing food contact surfaces, improper cold holding temperatures and improperly disposing of sewage and waste water.

In the walk-in cooler, raw chicken was being stored over cooked fried chicken tubs; a majority of the rice that was prepared and stored in the same walk-in cooler had an average temperature of 66 degrees.

On Aug. 27, Mr. Goodcent’s Subs and Pastas was inspected and cited for seven critical violations, including improper cold holding temperatures, improperly storing chemicals near food preparation areas, and improperly marking dates on food packages; sliced tomatoes and tuna salad were stored in a cooler at almost 60 degrees.

Best Breakfast in Kansas

I’m a sucker for Sunday brunch, especially if a good Bloody Mary is involved. On more than one occasion we’ve thought of trying The Chef café in downtown Manhattan (Kansas). But each time we see the line stretching out the door and down the block, we decide to take our small child somewhere without a wait. Today “Downtown Manhattan, Inc.” shared on Facebook that The Chef was rated the best breakfast in Kansas by the Food Network. The story says The Chef makes its own chorizo for their frittatas, which appear to be amply cooked, but chorizo should be handled with care to avoid food safety risks (see http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/454431 for a lively discussion). While I’d vote for Doug’s cooking as the best breakfast in Kansas, the next time Sorenne wakes up at 5 a.m. on a Sunday, we just might be first in line.