NZ restaurant bans doggy bags, citing health and safety risk

If you go to a restaurant and have leftovers, you ask for a doggy bag.

food_safety_sticker_2Any restaurant that knows food safety will bring the clamshell to the table: no one wants your germs back in the kitchen.

A Kapiti Coast restaurant has banned doggy bags, citing health and safety.

“If someone takes food home, doesn’t heat it properly and gets sick, they’ll probably blame us,” Phil Ryan, owner of The Social at Kapiti Lights, said.

“Some people got upset they couldn’t take a burger home, but it’s all about food safety.”

But the Ministry of Primary Industries is clear that food taken home from a restaurant becomes the responsibility of the diner, and Kapiti Coast District Council, along with other councils in the Wellington region, said it had no rules against doggy bags.

The ministry’s website says: “Operators may refuse to let leftovers be taken home because they run the risk their food could be mishandled and then blamed if someone becomes ill.

“If you take the food away, the safety of that food is up to you.”

However, Ryan said most restaurants par-cooked their food, so customers could be reheating their leftovers for a third time, leaving them at risk of getting sick.

food_safety_sticker“I would rather have a bad review for keeping people safe than making people sick. It’s not about ripping people off, honestly.”

The Social is not alone in being wary of letting customers take leftovers home. Duck Creek restaurant, in Pauatahanui, tries to stop diners taking chicken away.

“We strongly discourage that,” head chef Dean McFarland said. “If it’s a steak or some chips that’s fine, but chicken can go off too quickly.”

£7,500 fine for topping chicken kebab special with drill bit: UK

A takeaway owner has been charged more than £7,500 for topping a chicken kebab special with a three-inch drill bit.

Pizza Top:Top Kebab, a takeaway in High Street, HornchurchThe DIY meal was dished up in July 2013 after a customer placed an order on website JustEat with Pizza Top/Top Kebab, a takeaway in High Street, Hornchurch, owned by Nehmatullah Jamalzadah.

But he bit off more than he could chew when he came across the metal tool while eating it. Luckily, he managed to avoid swallowing it or damaging his teeth, and complained to the online takeaway company.

JustEat attempted to contact Pizza Top but after failed attempts the customer was told to call back later. It was then that he contacted Havering environmental health officers.

The council visited the premises and found repair works had taken place and the premises were in a mess with electrical equipment, screwdrivers, decorating materials and other equipment that had not been cleared away.

Proper cleaning and sanitizing matters; so does correcting infractions

Restaurants I want to eat at have some common attributes: tasty food, decent value and a good food safety culture. Food safety culture isn’t about having a training program – it’s about identifying hazards, understanding how to manage them and when deficiencies are pointed out, reacting by addressing problems.

I avoid places that have trouble responding to the help that local public health regulatory folks provide. Everyone can have a bad day, but having two or three consecutive inspections and not correcting the issues is a trend that says more about what an operator values.JS51071999

According to, Woodys Take Out received a formal caution by local regulators after not heeding inspectors’ warnings to address their food safety activities.

The offences, noted during visits on October 23 and November 3, included a lack of effective cleaning and disinfection of the premises and equipment such as chopping boards, handles and taps.

Food handlers were also found to not have been suitably trained in food hygiene procedures and demonstrated a poor understanding of effective cleaning.

There was also a failure to implement required food safety management systems.

The director of the company – which has branches in Farnborough, Aldershot, Blackwater and Yiewsley – accepted the cautions, admitting the offences on behalf of the company.

As part of this action, the takeaway voluntarily closed for one day to ensure that the premises were brought up to the minimum standard required by law.

Good cleaning and sanitizing takes having the right equipment, staff that know how to do it and an organizational value system that ensures it gets carried out. Dirty utensils and cutting boards in the prep area can lead to cross-contamination risks.

Sydney bakery closed after salmonella sickens 120, 22 hospitalized

ABC News reports an outbreak of salmonella linked to a bakery in Sydney’s west is being investigated by the State Government’s public health unit.

Almost 120 people have sought help, suffering from gastroenteritis after eating takeaway food from a bakery at Bankstown.

Twenty-two of those have been admitted to hospital for treatment.

The bakery has now been closed until further noticed.

Why not name the bakery so previous inspections can be checked on the government’s name-and-shame website?

Slough takeaway fined over £3,000 for food safety violations

The Slough Observer, in the town of Slough, on the outskirts of London, reports a takeaway owner who failed to keep his food premises clean has pleaded guilty to seven offences in court and fined £3,015.

Mohammed Shahid, director of Star Karahi Limited, Herschel Street, appeared at Maidenhead Magistrates Court on Friday last week and was charged with failing to keep food premises clean; failing to effectively clean equipment which food came into contact with; failing to keep articles and equipment which food comes into contact with in good order, repair and condition to minimise any risk of contamination; failing to maintain equipment in good order, repair and condition where it is kept clean and where necessary disinfected and failing to protect food from contamination which could render the food contaminated in such a way it would be unreasonable to expect it to be eaten.

Salmonella outbreak investigated at Aubury, Australia eatery

Albury Public Health Unit was investigating a gastro-like illness in more than 30 people across the Border, more than 20 having presented at the Albury Base Hospital alone.

“Three persons have been confirmed as having salmonellosis. One suspected case has been hospitalised,” the advice said.

“All cases consumed food of a takeaway nature, purchased from a food outlet in Albury.

“A significant number of cases experienced bloody stools. Onset of the illness has been from Friday evening.”

The Border Mail reported the food outlet, located in Aubury, Australia, between Melbourne and Canberra, remained open pending the results of testing at the premises completed by health officers earlier this week.

Tests have also been done on food samples provided by the owners as health officers attempt to identify the cause of the outbreak.

Leftovers should not be left outside – or you may barf

Nine children and three women from a village in the Galilee who attended a wedding celebration Sunday ended up Monday evening at the emergency room with diarrhea, fierce stomachache and vomiting. The Jerusalem Post reports that seven of the children and two of the women had to be hospitalized for observation.

They were diagnosed with food poisoning tracked back to the "doggie bags" taken and eaten at home. Amil Aga, epidemiological supervisor at the hospital, reached the conclusion that the leftovers had been left outside rather than in refrigeration for several hours until the extended family got home.

Hospital director-general Dr. Masad Barhoom warned people that during the hot summer months, store raw and prepared food under proper conditions to reduce the risk of food poisoning.

(The sticker, right, was a prototype; phone number and web site won’t work; but we can come up with a new one — dp).

Stickers for takeaway food a hit in Dubai

Food such as takeout or takeaway, that is initially prepared in a restaurant but is consumed in an individual’s home, may be a venue to target with safe-food handling messages. Earlier this decade, both Chicago-based Francesca Restaurants and Boston-based Buca Di Beppo Restaurants reported anecdotal success placing food safety labels on containers of takeout food.

In 2004, my group undertook research to:

• examine restaurant managements’ experience of using a safe food-handling label on takeout food;
• explore managements’ food safety concerns;
• determine the value of consumer safe-food handling labels to managers;
• establish perceived label effectiveness; and,
• identify challenges with implementation.

For our study, we defined take-out as food procured from a casual dining restaurant (i.e. sit-down restaurant) but eaten elsewhere, including food ordered as take-out and leftover food packaged to be taken home. The label we developed is right (above) and left (note, the phone line and web site don’t work anymore).

The research paper describing that work has been accepted by a peer-reviewed scientific journal and will be published in the near future.

However, the public health types in Dubai discovered over the weekend the same thing we found: most consumers and restaurateurs like the idea.

Our Dubai correspondent contacted Ben and me about stickers on takeaway, and we sent along what we had developed. Today, the Khaleej Times reports,

The Dubai Municipality is planning to encourage all restaurants in the emirate to issue advisories to consumers on safe handling of takeaway food.

The decision follows a similar initiative by a popular south Indian restaurant group that attaches red stickers to its takeaway bags at its two outlets in Dubai. A municipality official applauded the group’s move and said the civic body intended to support such initiatives by other restaurants as well.

Director of Food Control Department, Khalid Mohammed Sherif, told the Khaleej Times,

“We are encouraging more and more food outlets to put such messages along with takeaway food to ensure that the customer handles the food properly. We will be providing all of them with modified instructions for customers to handle food taken away.”

He said the modified versions of the advisories will include the temperature at which food items have to be stored and the duration within which they have to be consumed, depending on the types of ingredients.

Below is a draft of the information intended for consumers.