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A statement from Ricardo De Marco regarding ACT Health action against Ricardo’s Cafe

By Charlotte Harper - 16 February 2017 6

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The RiotACT has received the following statement from Ricardo de Marco, the operator of Ricardo’s at Jamison, in response to our story earlier today about the cafe’s closure following a salmonella outbreak.

At the end of January, ACT Health notified us that approximately 15 people had become ill after drinking smoothies at our Belconnen café.

ACT Health performed a number of tests on our equipment and kitchen, and we immediately removed the smoothies – containing milk, fruit and yoghurt – from the menu as a precautionary measure.

We were informed that there were NO positive salmonella test results returned from any equipment or ingredients relating to our smoothies.

ACT Health suggested changes to our cleaning processes which we have followed.

We have worked constructively with ACT Health at all times.

This week, they notified us there had been another outbreak related to our Cronuts. Again, ACT Health attended our premises and observed our processes and took numerous samples.

We have been informed that NO positive salmonella test results were returned from any equipment or ingredients relating to our cronuts.

ACT Health did, however, report that salmonella had been found on one Chux dishcloth and one tea towel.

Instead of allowing us to sanitise our restaurant and change our policies in relation to the use of these items, we were closed down at 5pm on Tuesday 14 February.

The following day, our team attended the restaurant and threw out all foodstuffs and undertook a full sanitisation of our premises. Later that day ACT Health attended and took a full sample of swaps from across all areas of our restaurant.

We await those results.

ACT Health told us they would attend our premises on Thursday in a bid to allow us to reopen. Despite numerous calls we are yet to be inspected.

It is deeply disappointing that any test result has come back positive from our shop, which has been serving quality food to Canberrans for 11 years and has never given cause for investigation by ACT Health.

Our staff have all conducted a comprehensive hygiene education program and we have a documented policy relating to our use of Chux to clean and prepare work surfaces.

This includes coloured Chux being reserved for specific areas and all Chux to be placed in sanitised water between use. There has been no more reported illness connected to our premises since 10 February.

If anyone has become ill or been hospitalised as a result of salmonella contracted from Ricardo’s I am deeply, deeply sorry. We have always worked diligently to provide excellent customer service and have always taken the utmost care in operating a clean and hygienic restaurant. Our kitchen is now perhaps the most sanitised kitchen in the city.

We look forward to receiving a full clearance from ACT Health so we can begin operating as soon as possible.

What’s Your opinion?


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6 Responses to
A statement from Ricardo De Marco regarding ACT Health action against Ricardo’s Cafe
1
Suzanne Kiraly 5:27 pm
16 Feb 17
#

I think this is devastating for Ricardo, as I know just how conscientious and hard working he and his staff are, in bringing the best of the best to Canberra consumers. (I wrote up his story in the Canberra Business Success Stories book and it’s well worth a read.) He is a remarkable young man. I really hope that Canberrans will get behind him when he reopens. You can be assured it will be of the highest standard regarding hygiene and arguably, still serving up Canberra’s best cakes too!

2
MzFitzy 6:27 pm
16 Feb 17
#

I love Ricardos and eat there nearly every week. They offer great food. I think the explanation the cafe has given is reasonable and their response to solving the issue is very professional. I’ll certainly be back as soon as they reopen.

3
Bryan 6:36 pm
16 Feb 17
#

NOT related to Riccardos, but a general observation; We see the barista wipe the milk/froth off the outside of the steam tube on the coffee machine after each frothing. I have never seen the chux used for that go anywhere except on the counter next to the machine. How long does the same one get used before it is replaced ? Many days, every day, every hour, or …?

4
Serina Huang 10:05 pm
16 Feb 17
#

I congratulate Ricardo for such an honest statement and for making the changes to his business practices.

5
Xtra 11:28 pm
16 Feb 17
#

I love Ricardo’s, great food and service.
The other café which was closed by ACT Health was Central Café in Gungahlin. I went there about a week ago- at the time I said to my husband that I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a health issue. One of the chefs was drinking and eating while cooking. The place didn’t look organised or sufficiently clean. Staff walking in and out of kitchen with hair not tied up. If the cool rooms weren’t working properly they shouldn’t been serving food, there’s no real excuse for putting people’s health at risk,

6
taymeggles 12:37 am
17 Feb 17
#

@bryan –

Bryan said :

NOT related to Riccardos, but a general observation; We see the barista wipe the milk/froth off the outside of the steam tube on the coffee machine after each frothing. I have never seen the chux used for that go anywhere except on the counter next to the machine. How long does the same one get used before it is replaced ? Many days, every day, every hour, or …?

Hey Bryan, I’m a barista – cloths used for coffee machines will generally get replaced once every couple of hours. This removes milk residue to ensure bacteria or mould doesn’t have a place to grow and disperse into the coffee when the wand is put in, before turning it on – it’s also good maintenance. At the time of wiping, the wands are at over 100*C so any bacteria from the cloth would be immediately killed. Every time the milk is frothed this wand will heat up to a very high temperature again, effectively sterilising it. ?

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