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)
#31
PantsMan7:23 am, 30 Mar 12

rats n pests – u b nxt

#32
Darkfalz8:02 am, 30 Mar 12

Bollywood Dimensions might get some business for once – if they aren’t shut down next.

#33
jules_from_latham8:47 am, 30 Mar 12

At the risk of further sarcastic comments from mouthface…

It’s the entire through chain that matters, and therefore each step along the chain is important. If produce comes in with pathogenic microbes (ones that can cause illness) then yes, leaving them out in the sun for extended periods of time is hazardous – this gives the microbes time to grow, meaning that they may grow into levels high enough to cause illness.

As I noted in my first post, given that produce comes into contact with soil and other environmental elements, the chances of pathogenic microbes being present are increased.

Although c_c notes that most produce is cleaned following harvest, quiet a lot isn’t these days, and these techniques while in the main are highly effective, they are not 100% effective in all cases.

So to conclude, given a series of possibilities all aligning at the same time, leaving produce out in the sun is potentially hazardous, particularly given that it may be eaten raw or minimally cooked (ie cooking process is insufficient to kill the pathogenic microbes).

#34
Baldy9:04 am, 30 Mar 12

This may be out of place but I kind of like food cooked with a bit less hygine. It takes me back to mu time in Africa the Indian subcontinent.

Mind you scandal hygine problems there all revolved around using unhyginic food procucts like meat that wasn’t slaughtered in the kitchen but frozen and transported elsewhere before cooking.

Disgusting.

#35
Malteser11:15 am, 30 Mar 12

I think it’s normal to jump to conclusions that these places were shut down due to bugs, pests, food left out in common areas and staff not wearing gloves or something like that – general unhygenic conditions. Imagining the worst situations like a bandaid in a pastry.

But I bet most of them did not comply with simple OH&S standards, for example: there was an empty roll of paper towel in the dispenser above the hand basin, a roll was opened beside it but not put in the dispenser. I’m certainly not going to assume that I am going to get food poisoning if I visit one of these places again.

#36
BelcoMan11:35 am, 30 Mar 12

Malteser said :

I’m certainly not going to assume that I am going to get food poisoning if I visit one of these places again.

The the roll of the dice is yours.

Personally, I believe that all the standards are put there for my protection and, if they fail ANY of them, I won’t go there.

I hope no one believes that they would close a place down ONLY because of a roll of hand towel? They don’t shut places down lightly.

#37
HenryBG12:48 pm, 30 Mar 12

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. T

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.

Yes. Some people seem to think food is only really food if it’s wrapped up in cellophane.

*Real* food has bugs in it, is grown in animal faeces, and sits in the dirt on the ground.

#38
GardeningGirl1:22 pm, 30 Mar 12

sepi said :

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

The city centre one? I can’t remember exactly what now but I remember commenting on something to GardeningHusband once as we walked past. The good thing now is if a place has been ordered closed there should be a sign, somewhere, though a red and white colour scheme could camouflage it?

Malteser said :

I think it’s normal to jump to conclusions that these places were shut down due to bugs, pests, food left out in common areas and staff not wearing gloves or something like that – general unhygenic conditions. Imagining the worst situations like a bandaid in a pastry.

But I bet most of them did not comply with simple OH&S standards, for example: there was an empty roll of paper towel in the dispenser above the hand basin, a roll was opened beside it but not put in the dispenser. I’m certainly not going to assume that I am going to get food poisoning if I visit one of these places again.

I got the impression from the newspaper articles that there ARE things the authorities will give advice about without shutting the place down.

#39
Malteser1:32 pm, 30 Mar 12

I hope no one believes that they would close a place down ONLY because of a roll of hand towel? They don’t shut places down lightly.

No, sorry, nowhere would be shut down just because of a single roll of hand towel. I was just trying to say they may not be specifically staff hygiene related incidents, but more to do with compliance of OH&S standards which invovle things like ‘must have hand towel above wash basin’ etc.

#40
devils_advocate1:32 pm, 30 Mar 12

GardeningGirl said :

I got the impression from the newspaper articles that there ARE things the authorities will give advice about without shutting the place down.

Stands to reason – but the ones that merely got advices I presume don’t have a notice on the window, so we don’t (ahem) notice them. We only see the ones that got shut down.

Based on the standard braithwaite enforcement/regulatory pyramid, there would probably be far more places that got a talking do and the closures would represent the tip of the iceberg/pyramid.

#41
OzChick2:22 pm, 30 Mar 12

Blu Ginger has now reopened. They had customers at lunchtime today.

#42
DeskMonkey3:38 pm, 30 Mar 12

OzChick said :

Blu Ginger has now reopened. They had customers at lunchtime today.

As did Jewel of India when I walked past today. Not as many as normal, but customers all the same.

#43
pezza4:46 pm, 30 Mar 12

GardeningGirl said :

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.

My understanding of the ‘rules about wearing gloves’ was that they are a waterproof covering for open wounds and not generally required otherwise. That means if you have a cut on your hand, you put a band-aid on it and a glove over the hand.

Honestly this is one of the reasons I think it’s good policy [i]not[/i] to wear gloves except in the above circumstances – you can feel when it’s time to wash your hands. When your gloves are dirty you can’t always feel that they need to be washed too (which they do).

That’s the way I always worked, anyway: No gloves unless I had an injury or was working with a high risk ingredient (eg shellfish), and whenever my hands felt dirty/oily (surprisingly often), or I moved between stations (eg from cash handling to food prep) I’d give them a good scrub.

Although I guess different food premises may well work under different guidelines. For example, where I worked we did not use raw meat – everything was delivered cooked and frozen from our supplier.

#44
niknak8:36 pm, 30 Mar 12

So I guess when we all chuff off to downtown Denpassar, Beijing or Phuket or, for the more ecelctic amongst us, Katmandhu or Lahore, it’s perfectly okay to eat from street markets and food carts and run the risks.

Not so okay for that “authentic experience” here in good old paternalistic, over-regualted Canberra?

Just checking.

#45
HenryBG9:35 pm, 30 Mar 12

niknak said :

So I guess when we all chuff off to downtown Denpassar, Beijing or Phuket or, for the more ecelctic amongst us, Katmandhu or Lahore, it’s perfectly okay to eat from street markets and food carts and run the risks.

Not so okay for that “authentic experience” here in good old paternalistic, over-regualted Canberra?

Just checking.

Yeah, we don’t do “authentic”, we do “safe”. Much more tasty.

Having said that, I’ve never seen somebody buy something from a street stall in Asia, bite into it, and get a mouth full of maggots.
But I’ve seen that in Canberra.

Call it sampling bias, if you will.

#46
Gungahlin Al11:20 pm, 30 Mar 12

Gungahlin’s Asian Tea House was also closed recently: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/restaurant-fined-12000-over-major-health-breach-20120323-1vpvi.htm

A $12,000 fine for unsanitary kitchen, admission some equipment not cleaned for five years, forced to close for 11 days.

I don’t know about others, but I’ve seen a lot of unsavoury food handling around Canberra businesses. One food poisoning episode (Multicultural Festival 3 years back) put me in hospital overnight on a drip. Another meal (from a Gungahlin noodle business) left me with maddening hives for days. I have seen staff in sushi stores in Gungahlin and the one under the City West car park go from handling my money straight back to direct food handling with the same gloves on. Do they think they are there to keep their hands clean??

When I was a Councillor in Queensland, we started a food handling education and enforcement program. The revelation for us was just how little staff actually knew about the health implications of what they were doing. Generally an eye opener for those staff too.

So I’m glad to see the current crack down from ACT Health. And I hope it continues. If you’ve got a food business, they’ve given fair warning. Make sure your house is in order – for all our sakes.

#47
screaming banshee10:58 am, 31 Mar 12

Brindabella said :

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….

You write that like being on the way to the toilet is somehow worse than any other location, as though the toilet trippers are already spraying piss and s*** in every direction on their way past the food. Whereas I suspect the location is akin to a service corridor and out of the major traffic area.

#48
nazasaurus1:24 pm, 31 Mar 12

So there’s an election this year? reminds me of an episode of Hollowmen when to bolster the PMs ratings they choose a crackdown from the set list .. drugs, boat people… can’t help but think this extra vigiliance is linked to our love of a good crackdown.

#49
Zenacat4:18 pm, 31 Mar 12

Princes Palace at Belcoon the lake also had a ban notice up today, dated 30 march…. no yum cha today!

#50
OzChick4:47 pm, 31 Mar 12

The Canberra Times seems to have caught on to this story a bit late.

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/indian-restaurants-closed-20120330-1w483.html

#51
johnboy4:52 pm, 31 Mar 12

it’s the only way they know how.

#52
kratz1:16 pm, 03 Apr 12

This latest swoop by ACT health seems a bit fishy. You’d automatically think it’s the asian joints that are dirty, but I can tell you that for all the stereotypes of asian people I would gladly rather eat at a top quality chinese restaurant than a western or european restaurant these days. Maybe in the 70′s when the refugees were opening restaurants in australia they garnered a bad name for certain practices, but most of the asians running restaurants in australia these days come from a more hygeinic/educated workforce than we have here. Just look at their hygeine practices at home compared to us and you will see what I mean. Who wears shoes in their house? Who puts shoes up on their beds? Who carries wet towels everywhere with their children? Who lets their children play in the mud and then come inside the house? Who showers before bedtime? Who wipes their cutlery before eating? I find it’s the asians in Australia that have the best hygeine, while we europeans don’t care less. These practices carry on into the workplace of restaurants and that’s where you have problems.

When eating in certain south east asian countries at reasonably restaurants, I’ve never got food poisoning, never seen frozen food used, never seen dirty practices by chefs/waiters, tophats always worn by chefs, waiters clean and food always freshly obtained. Compare this to your regular western restaurant with chefs/waiters from Australian backgrounds with less than desirable hygeine practices and the use of frozen factory foods which need to be thawed and cooked (squid rings, cakes, pies, meats and many other packages foods you find in western restaurants are bought from frozen wholesalers these days – even meat pies in bakeries are purchased processed foods) and you see where i’m coming from. Do western chefs actually know how to prepare real food anymore or is it all purchased from wholesale frozen suppliers? Watch Gordon Ramsay and just think this type of stuff happens all over australia, pre-prepared food, frozen, thawed, kept too long etc.

As someone above said, alot of these shutdowns are from minor breaches of certain OH&S or other myriad of Acts which have come into existence in the ACT recently. Leaking tap, paper towels roller stuck, etc etc. Not really a risk to public health I would say, just ACT government trying to flex it’s muscle. Makes you wonder why so many eateries are suddenly being closed down and what were the ACT government doing for the past 10 years anyway? Heard of self-compliance? Didn’t work.

If you really want the ACT government to look after the public health of your family I suggest you write to the health department and ask them if they do mandatory inspections of hairdressers and barber shops to check if equipment if cleaned or sterilized after each customer? I’ve asked hairdressers if they sterilize the stuff in an autoclave or alcohol (like years ago) but they looked at me in confusion. Oh, you mean you want us to wash the scissors under the hot tap, they reply? No idea about hygeine as far as I’m concerned, what do they teach them at hairdresser school? And I’m talking about top class salons in Canberra, not your sloppy Jo barber. You know the ones, where the women wear tight black outfits and are all made up. Yet they don’t clean the tools. It’s like me using the save shaver as a stranger on the street, is this safe? Hepatitis anyone? The good thing for them is there’s no way to prove you caught a disease from their shop, so little incentive to sterilize the gear.

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