Passing the blame: ‘unreliable students and migrants’ reason Melbourne cockroach-infested eatery fined $20,000

A Melbourne restaurant has been fined $20,000 after an inspector found its kitchen infested with cockroaches, rodent droppings and accumulated grease, dirt and food waste.

A director of Ten Ren’s Tea Station agreed to temporarily shut its upstairs kitchen on March 7 this year – after a complaint from a customer – when authorities feared for public health.

Senior magistrate Dan Muling yesterday said there was no justification or excuse for the conditions and told its directors they ”wouldn’t have your own kitchen looking like this”.

Prosecutor Sebastian Reid said the initial inspection revealed the kitchen to have ”heavy infestation” of cockroaches, some rodent activity and no method to sanitise food contact surfaces and utensils.

Mr Reid listed more than 30 examples of Food Act breaches to walls, the floor, bowls, fridges and freezers, shelves, door seals, handles, exhaust hood and microwave oven.
These included a high number of live and nesting cockroaches, rodent droppings and heavy accumulation of grease, dirt, food waste and rubbish on the floor, under fridges, cooking equipment and kitchen benches.

Defence barrister Tim Bourke said the directors started the restaurant in 2008 and had employed unreliable students and migrants.

Melbourne ex-mayor faces food safety charges

The lord mayor of Melbourne from 2001-2008, John So, has been charged with running a dirty restaurant by the council he used to lead.

Melbourne City Council has filed charges against Mr So and a company he is a director of, Doshay Pty Ltd, over food safety breaches at the Dragon Boat on the Yarra restaurant.

The case was adjourned in Melbourne Magistrates’ Court yesterday because Mr So’s barrister was unavailable to represent him, so details of the allegedly unhygienic practices could not be read out in the court.

But this is not the first time one of Mr So’s restaurants has come under the glare of Melbourne Council for breaching food regulations.

The Herald Sun reports that on its website, the Dragon Boat on the Yarra claims to specialize in live seafood with "a team consisting of the best chefs in Melbourne."

Up to 160 sick after holiday party at Melbourne’s Crown Casino

That’s me and Melbourne Milton, having a chat along Southbank one morning last year when we visited Australia. The Crown Casino is tucked in behind us. We spent a couple of nights in the hotel – it was great.

But it wasn’t so great for 160 employees of superannuation fund Unisuper, who decided on a Christmas party at the casino and are now dealing with what appears to be food poisoning.

Unisuper spokesman Paul Murphy said most of those who had been ill after the party appeared to recover within a day or so of becoming sick.

But one Unisuper manager said he was still feeling ill almost a week later. ”I wish I hadn’t eaten that bloody seafood,” he said.

Crown spokesman Gary O’Neil yesterday confirmed government food inspectors had visited on Tuesday to investigate what he believed to be the casino’s first complaint of possible food poisoning.

He said the inspectors assessed kitchen preparation areas and found no issues of concern. Food samples have been taken away for testing.

Clean the poop off hands before making semi-dried tomatoes — linked to spike in Australian hepatitis A cases

The Age, which is the primary newspaper in Melbourne, Australia, in the state of Victoria, reports that semi-dried tomatoes have been linked to several cases of hepatitis A.

Victoria’s chief health officer John Carnie issued a warning on Friday evening (Friday morning here since they’re about 14 hours ahead) advising people to avoid eating semi-dried tomatoes unless they are thoroughly cooked.

"People who may have semi-dried tomatoes at home should not eat them unless they are thoroughly cooked, such as in pizza and quiche. Restaurants and cafes should also follow this advice.”

The Department of Health and Human Services has received 12 hepatitis A notifications this week and several people infected have reported eating semi-dried tomatoes.

Australian judge: ‘If you cannot offer food that is safe for consumption, you ought not to ‘

A North Melbourne bakery riddled with cockroaches and mouse droppings that failed to comply with an order to clean the shop has been fined $7,000.

After an inspection in April last year that found a live mouse, cockroaches, moths, mouse droppings and dirty shelving and work benches, Queensberry Hot Bread’s owner Dino Primitivo did not comply with an order to clean the shop or deter pests, the Melbourne Magistrates Court heard yesterday.

Photographs tendered to the court showed a live mouse under shelves, clothing hung up to dry in front of an oven, cracked, broken and dirty work tools, benches and surfaces, and mouse droppings on the floor.

Magistrate Sue Wakeling told Primitivo,

"If you cannot offer food that is safe for consumption, you ought not to."

Ramsay an ‘arrogant narcissist’

Fresh off a bout of viral food poisoning that was miraculously cured by a penicillin shot to the butt, food buffoon Gordon Ramsey told a cooking session at the Good Food and Wine Show in Melbourne that a doctored picture of a woman with the features of a pig and multiple breasts was similar to television journalist Tracy Grimshaw. Ramsey called her a pig woman and a lesbian.

"I had an interview with her yesterday – holy crap. She needs to see Simon Cowell’s Botox doctor."

Grimshaw, an interviewer with A Current Affair, said,

"I’m not going to sit meekly and let some arrogant narcissist bully me. … Obviously Gordon thinks that any woman who doesn’t find him attractive must be gay. For the record I don’t and I’m not.”

Vomit forces teenage tennis star out of Australian Open

I always have something on the television as background while working on my laptop.  And at this time of year, the Australian Open brings a reminder of the warmth that may some day return to the Northern Hemisphere.

When the announcer said, “This is painful to watch,” I immediately looked at the television. There was teenage tennis sensation Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, wobbling, though leading in her match against Serena Williams.

Azarenka had been vomiting all morning, because of a virus, and she did not feel much better when she got to the court. … She ended up retiring through illness and shuffled off the Rod Laver Arena with an assistant supporting her on either arm (right, photo by EPA). …

At one stage, it seemed as though she was going to be sick into her cupped hands, and she repeatedly sought out the shaded areas in the stadium between points. She also looked off-balance and almost unable to grip the handle of her racket. She had little choice but to quit against the American.

No word on the type or source of what was thought to be a viral infection.

Name and Shame of restaurants: works in Sydney, sucks in Melbourne

Amy and I spent a week in Melbourne in July. We ate out a lot. And it was simply dining on faith.

As Jason Dowling reports in Melbourne’s daily paper, The Age,

Dozens of city food businesses, including restaurants and cafes, have been prosecuted for breaching food hygiene laws in the past five years — but Melbourne City Council will not reveal who they are. …

The council’s inability to name restaurants with poor hygiene records comes as a "name and shame" food hygiene website in New South Wales had attracted 25,000 visitors in its first month.

The NSW Government has boasted the new website improved consumer information and "provides a powerful incentive for the food industry to boost its performance".

Melbourne City Councillor David Wilson was cited as saying the council did not support wider disclosure of poor hygiene discoveries at restaurants, adding,

"We believe that it is not appropriate for details of prosecutions to be released as restaurants may have changed management since the prosecution or they may not have breached food safety regulations since the initial prosecution and publication of a past prosecution could severely impact the viability of the current business.”

Councillor Wilson, I bet you won’t have the vote of my friend, Melbourne Milton (left, exactly as shown) next election. Milton wants to see the results of restaurant inspections and is so astute he said he knew the results didn’t really meant anything, didn’t make the food any safer and were just a snapshot in time, but the public disclosure made people more aware of food safety issues and people talked about it.

Even Durham Region in Ontario, Canada, is going to start with the red, yellow, green system of restaurant inspection disclosure.

Melbourne, figure it out. People who spend money in your restaurants should have access to inspection data if they want. Or they should take their money elsewhere.

Bastille Day in Melbourne: Kangaroo at a French restaurant

“What’s kangaroo doing on a French menu? Have you seen a French kangaroo?”

So asked the older woman as she perused the menu at one of Southbank’s eateries along the Yarra river in Melbourne, Australia.

I’ve been to Melbourne many times over the years, including a brief solo trip last year once my visa was approved. No troubles this time, my moral turpitude is apparently valid and it’s a lot nicer to be here with Amy. And she brought me.

This is Milton and me (left, exactly as shown). We were basking in the Melbourne sunshine this a.m. along Southbank, and struck up a conversation with Milton. He says he likes the stars system that is apparently being used as a form of restaurant inspection disclosure in some parts of Victoria, and he wants to see more. Milton said (unprompted) that he didn’t think the stars really meant anything, didn’t make the food any safer and was just a snapshot in time, but it made people more aware of food safety issues and people talked about it.

Couldn’t have said it better.

Amy and I are in Melbourne until Sunday. She has a conference, I plan to write and hang out in cafes on Lygon Street.

Hepatitis linked to Melbourne caf??

Five people have been struck down with Hepatitis A in an outbreak traced to Zanzibar Cafe on Latrobe Street in Melbourne’s city centre.

Victoria’s Department of Human Services said the outbreak has been linked to a food handler who also worked part time as a cleaner.

A 65-year-old man from Doncaster, a 32-year-old woman from Reservoir, a 51-year-old man from East Malvern and a 54-year-old man from Aspendale were among those affected. The department was notified of a fifth case on Friday afternoon.

An extensive clean up of the cafe had been carried out under the supervision of Melbourne City Council.

Hepatitis A is found in feces of the infected person and can be spread by direct contact with food, beverages or crockery.

Dude wash your damn hands. And don’t eat poop.