Will you really survive? Lunch Lady again on food inspection hot seat

The last public musing about Ottawa’s Lunch Lady was April 1, 2012, when it was announced the provider of school meals would reopen after making over 50 kids sick with salmonella.

It’s Canada; lowered expectations are normal.

Back on April Fool’s day, Jonathan Morris, the owner of two Lunch Lady franchises, said the caterer has undergone new testing procedures at their kitchens and redistributed some of the staff duties. He said the kitchens have been thoroughly sterilized and much of the food has been thrown out.

"This problem was rooted in an individual who made a mistake," said Morris, adding that the staff member has since been let go. He said the fired employee made a "mistake" in the preparation that led to the contamination of the food.

There was never a full accounting of what the alleged mistake was. Were the kitchens using meat thermometers to ensure safe temperatures had been reached? What kind of meat storage and prep procedures were followed to minimize cross-contamination? What handwashing procedures were in place and was there any verification such procedures are followed? Basic questions that the Lunch Lady and franchisee Morris seem unwilling to answer.

"My business will survive, but it’s not about me, it’s about those kids."

Maybe. But I’d want a lot more information before my kids ate there.

Local food folks at least appear to be awake; and yesterday, it was revealed Ottawa Public Health cited the same outfit for failing to store food at 4 C or below.

Jonathan-I-will-survive Morris said, “It wasn’t a failed inspection. It concerned our walk-in fridge which was a little warm since we’re in and out of it all day.”

Ottawa public health types said the Lunch Lady is now in compliance.”

In all, the three Lunch Lady franchises in the city serve about 5,000 children at 55 locations including more than 15 schools throughout Ottawa.