Health Department flexes its new found muscles on another food operator (The Banhammer comes to the Canberra Centre food court)

By 29 March, 2012 52

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Jewel Of India in the Canberra Centre food court is the latest food business to feel the wrath of the macho new Health Department, as local hospitality operators duck for cover – and their cleaning cloths – to avoid further closures. Paul Dugdale stated in the Canberra Times after the closure of high profile cafes Gus’ and My Cafe, that these problems are “common issues in commercial kitchens”, so Canberrans can expect to see more of their favourite food places shut as the inspectors continue their scrutiny. Meanwhile, a representative of one of Canberra’s largest hospitality suppliers has stated that sales of hygiene and cleaning products have almost doubled in the last few weeks.

It must be noted that Jewel of India in the Canberra Centre has no affiliation with the well known restaurants in Manuka and West Row that trade under the same name. Both companies were involved in a protracted legal battle over the name, which was settled after they agreed to allow each other to use it. In hindsight, this may have not been the wisest decision for the innocent party as his reputation may be tarnished due to this latest development.

UPDATE 29/03/12 15:31: Thanks to OzChick for the tip Blu Ginger on Genge Street has also been hit.
UPDATE 31/05/12 16:18 The Owners of Blu Ginger have been in touch to let us know that they’ve addressed all the issues and are open again.

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52 Responses to Health Department flexes its new found muscles on another food operator (The Banhammer comes to the Canberra Centre food court)
#1
shirty_bear2:56 pm, 29 Mar 12

“sales of hygiene and cleaning products have almost doubled in the last few weeks”

Oh. My. FSM.

#2
OzChick3:12 pm, 29 Mar 12

Blu Ginger is also closed for the same reason. It is located Genge Street under the ATO.

#3
c_c3:18 pm, 29 Mar 12

Most of the cafes in that food court should be shut down, they’re a disgrace.

I felt a bit odd after eating at Jewel of India once, never been back. But next door is an Ali Baba where the staff member once cleaned her ear with her gloved hand before going back to preparing food. Opposite is Asian Tiger who twice served me rice that was cool (haven’t been back in 3 years). Next to that is Sumo Salad who on a couple of occasions had hairy food, as if someone with dander had made the sandwiches. Next to that is a sandwich shop where gloved hands and money frequently get confused.

#4
Deref3:51 pm, 29 Mar 12

“Canberrans can expect to see more of their favourite food places shut as the inspectors continue their scrutiny. Meanwhile, a representative of one of Canberra’s largest hospitality suppliers has stated that sales of hygiene and cleaning products have almost doubled in the last few weeks.”

:D Damn good. It’s working then. The only question I have is why it took so long.

#5
Rangi4:05 pm, 29 Mar 12

I used to have a job where I would often have to go into comercial kitchens, some of the stuff I saw still makes me feel ill.

Things like open buckets of raw meat being stored in toilet rooms, even with the bucket sitting on the toilet, the rooms were not being used as bathrooms but still? raw meet stored in stairwell, staff picking noses while preparing food, bugs all over the place

Once when my daughter brought a meal from the chinese takeaway at Belcompton mall next to KFC, she took one bite,the girl it was cold, my wife took it back the girl serving denied it cold because of all the steam coming up from the serving trays, my wife said to touch it she did and then aggreed it was cold, but would only agree to microwave the food or refund half the money, I went up and demanded the other half of the money, which they eventually gave back.

#6
silvernitrate4:13 pm, 29 Mar 12

No sushi joints yet? Surprising….

#7
c_c4:13 pm, 29 Mar 12

Deref said :

:D Damn good. It’s working then. The only question I have is why it took so long.

Labor being too gutless to stand up to both business and union interest groups would be a good guess.

On the one hand you have Union complaining their members are already facing pressures from employers without increasing the burden on employers. Then business groups were saying the pressure of the new laws would send cafes broke, which played right into the hands of the Unions.

Both are wrong IMO. The point of the new laws isn’t punishment, but seeking compliance. And if cleaning supply sales have really gone up, then they would appear to be working.
And if compliance increase, people will feel better about eating out and do it more often, which is good for the industry. I don’t see how a quarter of the population getting food poisoning every year is doing them any good.

#8
schmeah4:19 pm, 29 Mar 12

I’m not really surprised when food court outlets get the stick, although that story about a staffer picking their ear and then proceeding to make food made me nearly hurl, but Blue Ginger .. it’s hardly run-of-the-mill food court. I see all types eating there; suits, hipsters, parents .. I’m shocked. Clearly nowhere, irrespecitve cost or experience, is safe.

#9
EvanJames4:35 pm, 29 Mar 12

Good. It’s about time. Proper food handling and storing hygiene is well known, if they choose to cut corners and risk their customers getting sick, they deserve all they get and the public shaming too.

#10
devils_advocate4:40 pm, 29 Mar 12

c_c said :

And if compliance increase, people will feel better about eating out and do it more often, which is good for the industry. I don’t see how a quarter of the population getting food poisoning every year is doing them any good.

^this. I have a strong aversion to being poisoned and if the industry standards across the board were raised I’d feel better about eating out, especially casual dining, and do it more often.

#11
zorro294:42 pm, 29 Mar 12

yeah it’s interesting watching these spring up everywhere…interesting in the way that makes me want to never eat anywhere again!!

#12
amaroovian5:36 pm, 29 Mar 12

schmeah said :

I’m not really surprised when food court outlets get the stick, although that story about a staffer picking their ear and then proceeding to make food made me nearly hurl, but Blue Ginger .. it’s hardly run-of-the-mill food court. I see all types eating there; suits, hipsters, parents .. I’m shocked. Clearly nowhere, irrespecitve cost or experience, is safe.

Actually I never see food court outlets with food stacked at the front door waiting for someone to come open the restaurant and take it inside to store appropriately. I work in the same building as Blu Ginger, and every Monday morning, I walk past and see a pile of delivered vegetables left at the front door. This week it was about 10 bags of peeled onions, a couple of boxes of eggplant and various herbs and other greenery. I have seen the food sitting there at 7.30am some Mondays, others its still there are past 9am, so I can only surmise that it sits out on the footpath with thousands of people, dogs, cyclists, smokers etc… walking past for at least 2-3 hours before the restaurant see fit to take it inside. On that basis alone I am not willing to darken the door of Blu Ginger and pay for their food.

But perhaps the hive mind can confirm or correct – I was told by a colleague that Blu Ginger and the food court Jewel of India are owned by the same people and some food is prepared jointly (but sold at quarter the price in the food court obviously). If that is true, it’s possibly no coincidence they were both shut down at the virtually the same time.

#13
blub5:39 pm, 29 Mar 12

I could be wrong – most likely – but I’d heard that Blue Ginger and the place in the food court were owned by the same people – that often you would see people at the back of the food court shop in blue ginger uniform…

#14
geetee7:31 pm, 29 Mar 12

What about restaurants that clearly prepare most of their food at home and then bring it in to a shop/restaurant to sell?

I’m thinking about that Thai place next to ACTEW House which is always very popular for lunches (mainly take-away) but I see the staff arriving 10-11am-ish with huge buckets full of curry and rice which they then portion into plastic containers and put in the bain marie.

I’ve had food there and it hasn’t been bad at all, but I wonder how the authorities can inspect a restaurant if the food is mostly prepared off-premise.

Anyone know?

#15
mouthface7:45 pm, 29 Mar 12

amaroovian said :

I work in the same building as Blu Ginger, and every Monday morning, I walk past and see a pile of delivered vegetables left at the front door. This week it was about 10 bags of peeled onions, a couple of boxes of eggplant and various herbs and other greenery. I have seen the food sitting there at 7.30am some Mondays, others its still there are past 9am, so I can only surmise that it sits out on the footpath with thousands of people, dogs, cyclists, smokers etc… walking past for at least 2-3 hours before the restaurant see fit to take it inside. On that basis alone I am not willing to darken the door of Blu Ginger and pay for their food.

Well that’s probably because restaurant staff don’t get to their work until around 10 or so. And really, a couple of hours sitting outside a door ain’t gonna kill you. The greenery and onions you mentioned spent some weeks outdoors in the sun and the dirt as well. Wild things probably pissed and shat on them too. But once inside the kitchen, those things need to be cleaned. And if you’re gonna get food poisoning, it will probably come from meat or fish or poultry, not lettuce. Lighten up.
My (relatively reliable) informant tells me the main items of contention at Blu Ginger were some broken tiles, an exhaust fan that needed cleaning, and a sneaky cockroach that came out to die after the place had been fumigated. Apparently cockroaches like to crawl into the open and die, and they have a knack of knowing when the health fuzz are coming. It might be the ultimate up yours to the guy that had them executed.
There may be more to it than that, but the stiffs at health have got tough, and these are the kinds of things that they are hitting operators with. I’m pretty sure that people are not keeling over and dying (uninformed Chinese mushroom pickers excluded) after having patronised the eateries of the capital.

#16
Golden-Alpine8:19 pm, 29 Mar 12

Well that sucks, I do like that place in the food court. I got lunch there this week too.

#17
jules_from_latham8:21 pm, 29 Mar 12

mouthface – wrong! Statistics readily available on the internet show approximately 35% of food poisoning is from fruits and vegetables. Around 30% is seafood, and then other items come in under that.

Fruits and vegetables as you note as exposed to a range of hazards, including soil, animals and humans using poor hygiene, and of course there are exceptions but a lot of fruits and vegetables are eaten raw or with low levels of cooking or other measures that can mitigate the food safety risks.

There are so many food safety myths out there, best to check people!

#18
knuckles8:23 pm, 29 Mar 12

amaroovian said :

schmeah said :

I work in the same building as Blu Ginger, and every Monday morning, I walk past and see a pile of delivered vegetables left at the front door. This week it was about 10 bags of peeled onions, a couple of boxes of eggplant and various herbs and other greenery. I have seen the food sitting there at 7.30am some Mondays, others its still there are past 9am, so I can only surmise that it sits out on the footpath with thousands of people, dogs, cyclists, smokers etc… walking past for at least 2-3 hours before the restaurant see fit to take it inside. On that basis alone I am not willing to darken the door of Blu Ginger and pay for their food.

I know exactly what you mean, why just the other day I was in Woollies and I saw crate upon crate of fruit and veges out in the open in the fruit and vege section. Lots of people, children included, were just walking past. One women even let her child pick a raw grape from a table and eat it on the spot! Oh the humanity

#19
c_c8:40 pm, 29 Mar 12

geetee said :

What about restaurants that clearly prepare most of their food at home and then bring it in to a shop/restaurant to sell?

Several coffee shops around Canberra do this for some menu items, typically baked products like muffins. A couple show photos of them been prepared in private kitchens on FB or Instagram.

It is a grey area.

And if one previous poster was correct in saying ol Gus transported tubs stew in the back of his car, there may be good reasons to look into this further.

#20
mouthface8:57 pm, 29 Mar 12

jules_from_latham said :

mouthface – wrong! Statistics readily available on the internet show approximately 35% of food poisoning is from fruits and vegetables. Around 30% is seafood, and then other items come in under that.

Fruits and vegetables as you note as exposed to a range of hazards, including soil, animals and humans using poor hygiene, and of course there are exceptions but a lot of fruits and vegetables are eaten raw or with low levels of cooking or other measures that can mitigate the food safety risks.

There are so many food safety myths out there, best to check people!

Well good for you, you know how to use the internet to find statistics! I’ll probably need to expand on what I was saying, dear fellow rioter. The risk from fresh vegetables left out for a couple of hours is probably minimal, as vegetables are “left out” from the time they start growing. The post I was replying to was from a concerned individual who stated that they don’t frequent a particular restaurant because that day’s delivery hasn’t gone into the cool-room immediately. I would be inclined to believe it’s what happens in the kitchen that matters more. Like cleaning them properly and throwing away old produce etc. Of course I could be totally wrong, and my research skills are not as refined as yours, so perhaps you could give us a breakdown.

#21
LSWCHP9:16 pm, 29 Mar 12

Rangi said :

I used to have a job where I would often have to go into comercial kitchens, some of the stuff I saw still makes me feel ill.

Things like open buckets of raw meat being stored in toilet rooms, even with the bucket sitting on the toilet, the rooms were not being used as bathrooms but still? raw meet stored in stairwell, staff picking noses while preparing food, bugs all over the place

Once when my daughter brought a meal from the chinese takeaway at Belcompton mall next to KFC, she took one bite,the girl it was cold, my wife took it back the girl serving denied it cold because of all the steam coming up from the serving trays, my wife said to touch it she did and then aggreed it was cold, but would only agree to microwave the food or refund half the money, I went up and demanded the other half of the money, which they eventually gave back.

I’ve bought a few meals from that place in the past, but not any more. the food is always dangerously cold.

#22
c_c9:35 pm, 29 Mar 12

mouthface said :

The greenery and onions you mentioned spent some weeks outdoors in the sun and the dirt as well. Wild things probably pissed and shat on them too. But once inside the kitchen, those things need to be cleaned.

Most fruits and vegetables are cleaned following harvest, to remove pesticide residues and significant dirt. Many go through chlorine rinses which has antibacterial properties. The rinse we do at home is to remove whatever remains or is gathered in transit.

#23
sepi9:48 pm, 29 Mar 12

Michel’s patisserie outside target is closed also – not sure why.

#24
GardeningGirl10:12 pm, 29 Mar 12

Deref said :

“Canberrans can expect to see more of their favourite food places shut as the inspectors continue their scrutiny. Meanwhile, a representative of one of Canberra’s largest hospitality suppliers has stated that sales of hygiene and cleaning products have almost doubled in the last few weeks.”

:D Damn good. It’s working then. The only question I have is why it took so long.

+1

c_c said :

. . the staff member once cleaned her ear with her gloved hand before going back to preparing food . .

I’ve seen some disgusting things too which have made me wonder if they think it’s alright, or they don’t think at all, because they are ‘following the rules about wearing gloves’? Rules is good, common sense and understanding the purpose of the rules is better.

mouthface said :

amaroovian said :

I work in the same building as Blu Ginger, and every Monday morning, I walk past and see a pile of delivered vegetables left at the front door. This week it was about 10 bags of peeled onions, a couple of boxes of eggplant and various herbs and other greenery. I have seen the food sitting there at 7.30am some Mondays, others its still there are past 9am, so I can only surmise that it sits out on the footpath with thousands of people, dogs, cyclists, smokers etc… walking past for at least 2-3 hours before the restaurant see fit to take it inside. On that basis alone I am not willing to darken the door of Blu Ginger and pay for their food.

Well that’s probably because restaurant staff don’t get to their work until around 10 or so. And really, a couple of hours sitting outside a door ain’t gonna kill you. The greenery and onions you mentioned spent some weeks outdoors in the sun and the dirt as well. Wild things probably pissed and shat on them too. But once inside the kitchen, those things need to be cleaned. And if you’re gonna get food poisoning, it will probably come from meat or fish or poultry, not lettuce. Lighten up . .

When I got ‘stuff’ in my salad once the cafe’s excuse was it was organic and therefore didn’t need washing. So they hadn’t bothered washing it! None of the food at the establishment had ever before then been claimed to be organic so I wasn’t convinced about that anyway, but even if it was it wouldn’t address the other forms of contamination that can happen. It’s wrong to overlook the need for hygienic handling of fruit and veggies because meat, dairy and grains are believed to be the main risks. I’ve seen quite a few reports on overseas news sites about deaths and recalls related to various fruit and veggies.

#25
I-filed10:21 pm, 29 Mar 12

I ate with friends at Delhi near the ANU a while ago – this is going to sound odd, but the banquet servings were suspiciously HUGE – too much to eat between us all. I am convinced they replenished those dishes for the next table – we barely made a dint in the food, and there’s no way they could have afforded to throw what we left away! Mind you, the food was delicious!

#26
dungfungus10:43 pm, 29 Mar 12

sepi said :

Michel’s patisserie outside target is closed also – not sure why.

Customers refused to pay more than $5 for a spinach roll?

#27
VYBerlinaV8_is_back10:46 pm, 29 Mar 12

Could it be that we finally have a government service run by someone with both brains AND backbone…?

#28
Brindabella11:28 pm, 29 Mar 12

Good! More power to the health department.

I work in a building that has a restaurant in it. On delivery days, boxes of food lay in a common area for hours where other members of the building walk past on their way to the toilet.

Boxes of vegetables and meat. Admittedly, the meat (duck, pork, chicken) says it’s frozen, but it sits there for hours before the owners come and take it away.

The restaurant owners also use the common area to do their washing up….bypassing their water bill presumably…

#29
caf12:03 am, 30 Mar 12

jules_from_latham said :

mouthface – wrong! Statistics readily available on the internet show approximately 35% of food poisoning is from fruits and vegetables. Around 30% is seafood, and then other items come in under that.

Fruits and vegetables as you note as exposed to a range of hazards, including soil, animals and humans using poor hygiene, and of course there are exceptions but a lot of fruits and vegetables are eaten raw or with low levels of cooking or other measures that can mitigate the food safety risks.

There are so many food safety myths out there, best to check people!

Right – this is why pregnant women are advised to avoid pre-prepared salads.

#30
c_c12:30 am, 30 Mar 12

Brindabella said :

The restaurant owners also use the common area to do their washing up….bypassing their water bill presumably…

I saw kitchen utensils been carried back to the Asian place in City West carpark once by a staff member – he had just exited the public toilets on ground level.

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