If I paid $300,000 for a membership, the kitchen better be pristine and safe.

As President Donald Trump took office earlier this year, state health inspectors arrived at Mar-a-Lago, the new president’s “winter White House,” for their annual inspection of the the private club’s kitchens.
What they found was not pretty.
Just weeks before Trump began entertaining world leaders and other dignitaries during his frequent visits to the Florida club, Mar-a-Lago’s restaurant was cited for 13 health code violations in a single inspection, the Miami Herald reported.
The infractions included potentially serious violations, including serving dangerously raw fish and keeping raw meat in malfunctioning coolers. The minor violations included not having hot enough water for staff to wash their hands and employees failing to wear hair nets when preparing food.
So, how do the kitchens at Trump’s “summer White House” in New Jersey compare?
The kitchens at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster — where the president is wrapping up his working vacation — have been cited for at least 17 health code violations during routine inspections between 2011 and 2016, according to records obtained through the state’s Open Public Records Act.
The reports included mostly minor infractions in the main kitchen serving the clubhouse restaurant and a smaller kitchen serving the pool-side cafe. Both restaurants are open to members as part of their $300,000 membership fee.
The violations included “significant fly activity” in the pool kitchen and main kitchen, dirty wiping cloths, grease-covered fryer units, uncovered and spilled food storage bins, melons stored at the wrong temperature and dirty kitchen utensils with “old and encrusted food buildup.”
In each case, the violations were minor enough for the golf club to get a “satisfactory” rating and its restaurants were allowed to remain open.

Safe food practices is serious business

Ken King with Foodservice Consulting & Design LLC, writes in response to the  front-page article about Restaurant 415 in Colorado. After more than 40 years in the restaurant industry, I must disagree with the presumption of the 415 owners that the system is broken. Upon inspection of their detailed health report, I would close down the restaurant (three consecutive “inadequate” ratings) based upon the dangers their operation poses to the dining public.

415.fort.collinsNot noted in the article was the cross-contamination of raw and cooked foods, dirty work surfaces, wiping cloths with inadequate sanitizing solutions, staff eating and drinking in the kitchen and, most damning, the holding of foods in the critical danger zones, allowing growth of pathogens. All of these are easily rectified and preventable with capable and engaged Management.

It is apparent that the owners/operators of Restaurant 415 either have not bothered, or (more likely due to their refutation of the health process) hold themselves above the established processes we all observe in order to keep our guests safe from food-borne illnesses. This is not cause to buck the system; rather it is powerful reason for guests to reject any dining establishment which cannot assure food safety.

It has been my personal experience that earning exceptional ratings from Health Department inspections department is easy, if one knows what one is doing. This is serious business.

Nikki Marcotte: Manhattan (Kansas) Dairy Queen cited for 8 critical violations

KMAN radio in Manhattan (Kansas) reports the Dairy Queen, located at 3116 Anderson Avenue, was marked for 8 critical health code violations, according to the inspection report.

Among some of the violations reported were an unapproved license, improper hot holding and cold holding temperatures for certain meat and produce items, and improper cooling methods.

Many of the issues were dealt with on-site, according to the report. However, a follow-up inspection will take place sometime in the near future.

Sushi + bacteria = barf

I was always skeptical when it came to sushi because of hands constantly touching the rice, fish, and other ingredients that go in the roll. Rice is notorious for harbouring bacteria such as Bacillus cereus, a nasty little germ that is capable of forming a spore and can cause one to seriously embark on a journey of barfing. One of the critical control points in controlling the growth of this bacterium is to acidify the rice, that is, attain a pH of <4.6. Synder1 reports that a pH of less than 4.6 will retard the growth of this bacterium and others such as Clostridium botulinum. I remember when I attempted to make sushi at home, I added enough vinegar to the rice that one bite would have given you an instant gastric ulcer, so I stopped. But are food operators’ testing their product to ensure the rice is at a pH of <4.6?

The Arizona Daily Star reports that Sushi Ten was reported in having 11 critical health violations.

Sushi Ten, a midtown eatery specializing in raw seafood, failed its first health inspection with a new owner, Pima County reported Monday.

The restaurant, which for several years held the top spot for sushi in the Tucson Weekly’s annual "Best of Tucson" survey, amassed 11 critical food-safety violations during an inspection last Wednesday. Critical violations are those that carry the risk of spreading food-borne illness, and an eatery receives a provisional rating if a county sanitarian notices five or more of them.

Sushi Ten, 4500 E. Speedway, will be reinspected within 10 days, said Sharon Browning, manager of the county Consumer Health and Food Safety unit.

Sushi Ten’s owner, David Lam, who took over the restaurant in May, said many of the violations stemmed from his employees not being fully aware of Pima County’s health code. He said he plans to attend a county class to learn more about safe food preparation and to educate his employees.

Most of the violations were corrected during the course of the inspection, Lam said.

The violations included employees failing to wash their hands after handling raw food or dirty dishes, food not being kept at the proper temperature, and potentially hazardous food not being properly date-marked.


1. Synder, O.P. (2000A). Sushi rice HACCP. Hospitality Institute of Technology and Management.

Peanut plant previously cited for violtions

The New York Times is reporting the peanut processing plant at the center of a salmonella outbreak that has killed seven and sickened over 500 in 43 American States and Canada had “a history of sanitation lapses and was cited repeatedly in 2006 and 2007 for having dirty surfaces and walls and grease residue and dirt build-up throughout the plant, according to state health inspection reports.”

The inspection reports were provided by Georgia officials in response to a request made by The New York Times under the state’s open records act. State officials said they could not release two recent inspection reports from 2008 because of the ongoing investigation into the plant. …

Inspections of the plant in Blakely, Ga., by the state agriculture department found areas of rust that could flake into food, gaps in warehouse doors large enough for rodents to get through, unmarked spray bottles and containers, and numerous violations of other practices designed to prevent food contamination. The plant, owned by Peanut Corporation of America of Lynchburg, Va., has been shut down.