MASSACHUSETTS: Inspectors cite hospital cafes
Posted: November 29th, 2009 - 8:27pm
Source: Boston Herald
Health inspectors found fruit flies, inadequate hand-washing, bacteria-producing food storage temperatures and dozens of other unsanitary conditions at Hub hospital cafeterias in 2008 and 2009, a Herald review of city records found.
Cafeterias in 10 of the 12 major Boston hospitals had failing grades on their most recent surprise food inspections, according to the city-run Mayor’s Food Court Web site.
Hospital cafeterias have an urgent inspection priority, said Tom Goodfellow, an assistant commissioner at the city’s Inspectional Services Department. Hospital cafeterias are inspected three times a year - more often than restaurants or grocery stores.
“This is a highly susceptible population,” Goodfellow said. “We want to make sure they are protected.”
Area hospitals are responsive and quick to address violations, Goodfellow emphasized.
“The hospitals take it very seriously,” he said.
Inspectors’ reports included:
More than 400 violations in two years, including 78 critical violations listed as having the potential to cause food-borne illness, 28 critical violations and 330 non-critical violations;
36 violations for unsafe handling or storage of meat, fish or egg products, including one incident of chicken stored at 105 degrees; and 12 violations involving dairy products, including one incident of milk stored at 59 degrees
10 violations for fruit flies and one for a dead mouse found at a hospital in 2008.
In all cases, the records show, hospital staff fixed the problems for follow-up inspections, which occurred 24 hours to 30 days later, depending on severity.
Among the hospitals with a high number of citations was New England Baptist Hospital, which had 12 critical food-borne illness violations and 88 non-critical violations in 2008 and 2009. Inspectors found chicken and cheese kept at unsafe temperatures and no hot water at locker-room sinks.
Charlie Mahan, director of food services, said some violations involved the salad bar, where a new employee was working. As a result, staff were retrained.
Under the new system to take effect in Jan., food establishments with one or more critical violations will be listed as having a “violation” instead of a fail. Those with no violations or minor violations will be listed as passing. Only establishments that are temporarily shut down will be failed, he said.
But even one critical violation is disturbing, said Bill Marler, a Seattle attorney who handles food poisoning litigation.
“It’s the very young, the very old and the immune-compromised that are the most vulnerable, and those are the same people you’d find in a hospital,” Marler said.