In Cambridge, two of the unlucky diners ate their oysters raw while the third consumed cooked oyster Kilpatrick but complained the shellfish was undercooked and sent it back for re-cooking.
The Food Safety Authority closed the growing area where the oysters came from in late July 2009 following the Auckland outbreak but eight days before the Cambridge diners had their contaminated meal.
The journal report says the leaking sewer was found only by chance. In early August 2009 the Thames Coromandel District Council reported the sewer had been disturbed during maintenance of the wastewater treatment plant near the oyster growing area.
"The pipe had been leaking partially treated effluent into the stream that flowed into the affected growing area," says the report by public health doctor Richard Wall and colleagues.
Dr Wall and colleagues say temperatures above 60C deactivate norovirus, although cooking oysters has not been shown to reliably inactivate viruses.
In 2006 imported Korean oysters were blamed for five outbreaks of the disease. One of these was at Eden Park in which it was estimated more than 300 corporate guests at an All Blacks-Ireland test were poisoned after eating the raw oysters.
“Here are the facts regarding the plumbing issue: that area of Miami Beach has problems with pipes backing up during high tide when there's been significant rainfall. The backup in our store equated to about an inch of water that encompassed about a three-foot span over one of the drains. The entire area was closed for complete cleaning as soon as the problem was discovered, and was cleaned and sanitized again the next day by a professional cleaning service.
“When it happened again the same professional cleaners were back at the store in less than 24 hours and the entire area was sanitized again.
“At all times, the areas of the store open to customers were clean and safe."
Whole Foods sucks at food safety, so I look forward to disclosure in the lawsuit filed on behalf of the former employee by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
There's a slime epidemic in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. It builds up on nozzles of soda guns. It's on the cups that hold soda guns. It's on ice machines and ice bins. And chances are it's been found in your favorite tavern or restaurant.
The Oshkosh Northwestern reports that inspectors for the Oshkosh Health Department found the gooey slime that when soda, juice and other beverages builds up over time in more than 10 percent of their 424 inspections of restaurants, taverns, convenience stores and kitchens between January 2009 and April 2010.
In total, there were 44 incidents of gunk build-up during that time, making it the most cited critical violation discovered by Oshkosh Health Department Sanitarians Sandy Knutson and Ann Boyce in their annual restaurant inspections.
"For the most part, the bacteria in that slime is non-pathenogenic," Knutson said. "It probably won't make you sick, but it will gross you out. But it's not as big a health hazard as drains that are not open-sited."
"Sewage on the other hand …," Boyce started.
"… Has a high chance of making you ill," Knutson finished.
In 43 instances, ice bin and ice machine drains were not designed to prevent sewage from backing up into the equipment.
Posted: September 17th, 2010 - 8:11am
by Doug Powell
It’s difficult to imagine a place called Sweet Pea Market and Café in corn-fed Colorado needing to fight the man. Serving up local produce, fighting health inspectors, it’s a powerful narrative, until folks discover food was stored beneath an unshielded sewer line in a basement walk-in cooler -- installed without a permit.
Steamboat Today reports the decision by county officials Tuesday to close Sweet Pea Market and Cafe, the first license revocation of its kind in Routt County in at least 30 years, involved issues that go beyond the popular downtown eatery’s seating capacity and restrooms.
Tuesday’s Board of Health hearing was required by state law after the Routt County Department of Environmental Health assessed three fines of $1,000 each — July 28, Aug. 6 and Aug. 20 — to Sweet Pea owners Jonathon Hieb and Katherine Zambrana. The owners paid all three fines.
The violation that led to the inspections, fines and hearing involved Sweet Pea’s operation during the summer with far more seating capacity than its one restroom allowed, according to state health regulations.
The violations involve food stored in the walk-in cooler and Sweet Pea’s basement walk-in freezer, which also was installed without a permit and walled with noncompliant, absorbent materials including plywood and foam core.
County senior environmental health specialist Heather Savalox said she discovered the cooler and freezer in an inspection Sept. 2 after an anonymous complaint.
“I’ve never seen anybody else store food under a sewer line,” Savalox said about Sweet Pea’s basement. “In 15 years, I’ve never seen that.”
Mike Zopf, director of the county’s environmental health department has directed Routt County’s environmental health department for 31 years. He told commissioners Tuesday that “we have never before recommended that a retail food license be suspended or revoked until" Tuesday.
Rex Brice is vice president of the Steamboat Springs chapter of the Colorado Restaurant Association. He owns four local restaurants: Rex’s American Grill & Bar, Mazzola’s Majestic Italian Diner, Big House Burgers & Bottle Cap Bar, and Lil’ House Country Biscuits & Coffee.
“I feel bad for Sweet Pea, but I’ve always been given the information I’ve needed to make those decisions and I’ve always been held accountable for the regulations,” Brice said. “I guess if you’re going to hold one person accountable, you’ve got to hold everybody accountable.”
In explaining her support for the Sweet Pea license revocation, Commissioner Diane Mitsch Bush said the potential impacts of public health risks can be disastrous.
She recalled a local incident of salmonella in 2002 at the former Seasons at the Pond restaurant.
The outbreak occurred Dec. 16, 2002, likely from fruit salad. Fifty-one cases of salmonella were reported in the weeks that followed. Those contaminated ranged from 4 to 72 years old, and 96 percent were Routt County residents.
Hieb said Sweet Pea had about 15 people on staff at the time of the revocation.
He said the community showed “unbelievable” support for Sweet Pea on Tuesday night when the market had a sale on inventory up to its closure at midnight Wednesday.
“Thank God for our community,” Hieb continued. “We’re going to do everything in our power to open up in two months.”
Posted: September 6th, 2010 - 2:05pm
by Doug Powell
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.
Posted: September 2nd, 2010 - 5:26am
by Doug Powell
Grub Street New York reports the city’s No. 1 restaurant, Le Bernardin, featuring celebrity Top Cheferer Eric Ripert (right, not exactly as shown), received 32 demerits (4 points above the C mark) on an inspection last Friday.
General Manager David Mancini says he’s expecting a follow-up on the initial “courtesy inspection” in the next week or two and tells us, “As aggressive as the inspection was, I don’t want to make any comment until they come back and reinspect us, and then I’ll probably have a great deal of comment.”
Failures in the current inspection included:
• cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation;
• raw, cooked or prepared food is adulterated, contaminated, cross-contaminated, or not discarded in accordance with HACCP plan;
• sanitized equipment or utensil, including in-use food dispensing utensil, improperly used or stored; and,
• plumbing not properly installed or maintained, anti-siphonage or backflow prevention device not provided where required; equipment or floor not properly drained, and ssewage disposal system in disrepair or not functioning properly.
The Louisiana state Department of Health and Hospitals has closed a large section of east bank Plaquemines Parish waters to oyster fishing through at least mid-April, after 11 people in Mississippi – at a seafood conference, repeat, at a seafood conference -- became sick after eating oysters believed to be traced to that area.
The Times-Picayune reports the state has also issued a recall of any oysters harvested from that area since March 6, meaning wholesalers must review their records and contact any restaurants, brokers or other buyers who bought oysters from those waters. Under Food and Drug Administration and state health guidelines, oyster dealers are required to have a recall plan in effect.
Posted: February 9th, 2010 - 10:03pm
by Doug Powell
Fast-food joint Jack in the Box may have a great food safety program after its 1993 E. coli O157:H7 disaster which killed four and sickened over 600, but that ain’t worth much if an outlet allows raw shit to flood into the kitchen.
The polite write-up on the inspection for the restaurant, at 1440 Moraga Way, Contra Costa County, California, says it was ordered closed Feb. 1 after inspectors discovered the floor sink, a drain that is connected to sewers and other contaminated water, was flooding the kitchen.
Contaminated wastewater was found on the floor near areas where food is prepared and dishes are washed.
While New Zealand’s Flight of the Conchords charmed the critics lat year, the best television show in recent times is Australia’s Summer Heights High. And while the show is set in Melbourne, a school in Australia’s Northern Territory has, according to The Courier-Mail, been battling sewage in its canteen sink, water contaminated with dog poo, and piles of rubbish that are causing public health risks.
The school, at Palumpa, near Wadeye in the Northern Territory, has been in the news because students have been forced to wade through a crocodile-infested billabong to get to classes and the school "bus" - a Toyota TroopCarrier - has been stalked by a crocodile.
The new findings are contained in a Health Department report, completed last month, which was obtained by the Northern Territory News.
The Northern Territory News also revealed that two Palumpa children were airlifted to Royal Darwin Hospital this week suffering gastro.