Once Again, Yum! Brands Is Guilty of Food Poisoning

This week an Australian judge found KFC guilty of food poisoning and ordered the company to pay $8.3 million (USD) to the family of a 7-year-old girl who was left brain damaged after eating one of its chicken wraps. In 2005, Monika Samaan, then age 7, shared the chicken wrap with both her parents and brother. All of them became ill with vomiting and diarrhea. Monika, however, fell into a coma for 6 months and became severely brain damaged. The other family members recovered. Stool tests showed that all the family members contracted the same strain of salmonella. A fifth person living with the family, a grandmother, didn't eat any of the wrap and didn't become ill. KFC vigorously fought … [Read more...]

Forget Pink Slime, What about Poopy Chicken?

In the last couple of months, the outrage over “safer” beef known as pink slime has been overwhelming, but what about chicken? A shocking report was just released by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) on fecal contamination in retail chicken. In the report, the PCRM uncovered that nearly half the chicken tested was contaminated with feces. The poultry industry has yet to develop methods to make sure the chicken slaughter process doesn’t result in fecal contamination of the chicken. An independent analytical testing laboratory did the testing with chicken from 15 grocery store chains in 10 major cities. Kroger brand actually had 100 percent of their samples test positive … [Read more...]

Restaurant 911: Prevent Imminent Health Hazard Closures

"Sorry, we're closed"—These 3 words are possibly the worst a manager can hear from a health inspector. There are very specific events that can lead to an imminent health hazard closure. It could be an interruption in service in one facility or a large-scale emergency that could lead to all facilities closing down. It's important to understand what could lead to a closure and how to develop plans to avoid it. 2009 FDA Food Code Imminent health hazard means a significant threat or danger to health that is considered to exist when there is evidence sufficient to show that a product, practice, circumstances or event creates a situation that requires immediate correction or cessation of … [Read more...]

Total Recall: Hold Suppliers Accountable for Their Outbreaks

  Foodborne illness outbreaks in restaurants often have many casualties. The customers and restaurants assume the consequences. Paying hefty settlements to victims and the loss of reputation can cripple an organization while the supplier remains untouched. Even restaurants with the best food safety practices can't escape an outbreak, which is why we see outbreaks associated with restaurants almost every day. Jimmy John's keeps getting ripped apart for serving contaminated sprouts, but should we be blaming them for sourcing sprouts that were contaminated from their supplier? Maybe so, but when suppliers ship out product that is contaminated and it leads to an outbreak, they often find ways … [Read more...]

Stay on Top of Food Safety with Health Inspection Checklists

  A health inspection can be a very frustrating experience in a restaurant. Someone you don't know is telling you what is wrong with your business. Oftentimes, things are pointed out that you had no idea were problems. If you had known it was a problem, then it would have already been addressed, but it took a health inspector to point it out. These inspections would go much easier if a process was in place to identify these problem areas. This process can be developed by doing your own health inspection. In-house inspections can be very beneficial to not only find and correct problems before the health inspector finds them, but it will also greatly improve the food safety program of the … [Read more...]

Bloomberg’s Alphabet Soup: Is NYC’s Letter Grading System Any Good?

This week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg released a report on the successes of New York City's restaurant grading system. The mayor attributes the reduction in Salmonella illnesses and a 9.2% increase in restaurant revenue to the letter grading system. NYC isn't the only place posting inspection results where the public can easily find them. Health departments all across the country are trying to develop new, innovative, and cutting-edge ways to disclose inspection results. Many health districts simply post inspections online and let the public access the information and decide for themselves. What becomes more difficult is when health districts decide to add grading and ranking to the mix. By … [Read more...]

Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’: Norovirus Rules the High Seas

I've never been on a cruise, but my mother loves them. The idea of living in a confined space with 3,000 other shipmates for an extended period of time scares me. So when I see stories about the recent tragedies with the Costa Concordia and Costa Allegra, my fears seem justified. These tragedies, however, overshadow another problem that the cruise industry deals with every day—Norovirus. This stowaway has been wreaking havoc on cruises for decades. The CDC estimates there are 20 million cases of Norovirus every year resulting in 70,000 hospitalizations and 800 deaths. The symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramping. Most people will be sick for only a couple of days, but … [Read more...]