July 9, 2016 |
There are three health violations that are sure to temporarily shut down an eatery in Philadelphia: no hot water, a rodent infestation, and not having an employee on site who has passed a food safety course. But it's the last infraction - having no one on duty trained to prevent food poisoning - that triggers the overwhelming number of closures. According to a spokesman for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, eateries usually get one pass. But if an inspector returns, and a food safety certified person is still missing, the business is asked to "discontinue food operations" for at least the rest of the day. During the last week, the health department temporarily shuttered 19 restaurants and neighborhood groceries.
June 17, 2016
1. Set up the grill with both high- and low-heat areas. That allows you to move food away from flare-ups; sear thicker meats over high heat, then finish them over low heat without burning; and cook different types of foods at once, such as steaks over high heat and asparagus over low heat. 2. For instant flavor, use a spice rub instead of a marinade or brine. You eat all of the seasonings in a rub, but throw most of them away in a marinade or brine. 3. For smoke flavor, add wood chunks or chips to the coolest part of the fire, but skip soaking them in water - wood doesn't absorb much, and the water has to evaporate before the wood starts to smoke.
May 5, 2016 |
During the last two weeks, the Philadelphia health department has asked a number of restaurants, food stands and neighborhood grocery stores to temporarily close to address violations found during routine inspections. Most of the establishments were given the OK to reopen the next day. The most commonly cited violations included mouse droppings, lack of running water and an absence of a food safety certified person. An Inquirer analysis of city inspection reports last year found the average restaurant was cited with 7.8 violations, 2.3 of which were considered serious.
March 5, 2016 |
McCormick & Schmick's Seafood & Steaks, a favorite lunch destination of Center City bankers and Philadelphia city officials, was issued an order to cease and desist operations this week after a health inspector discovered "wastewater backing up into the establishment" and "nonpotable water" leaking from the kitchen ceiling. Though restaurant managers agreed to immediately shut down Wednesday until repairs were complete, business went on as usual. "We never closed," said a floor manager who answered the phone Thursday.
October 16, 2015
Wilbur Olin Atwater, considered to be the godfather of food science in this country, thinks "well-to-do" Americans have too much fat, too much sugar and not nearly enough physical activity. The many modern conveniences of the food supply have rendered the population unhealthy; we'd all do much better with a more reasonably balanced diet and regular rigorous exercise, the doctor and researcher concluded. He drew that conclusion in 1890. So, maybe our kinship with lousy-for-you foods and the associated laziness hasn't evolved all that much over the past 125 years.
July 18, 2015 |
Back in 2002, with at least 85 people sickened by Salmonella , Bucks County health inspectors discovered that kitchen workers at a Lone Star Steakhouse on Route 1 were washing tomatoes and raw chicken in the same sink. They shut the place down until an additional sink could be installed to prevent cross-contamination. "We thought we had it nailed," recalled Bill Roth, who oversees food safety for the county health department. Not exactly. When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed victims' stool samples, Roth recalled, they noticed something completely different: The same strain of Salmonella had been found elsewhere.
March 20, 2015
RE: KIMBERLY Garrison's article on "Harvest of Shame": I hope your tremendous article isn't just "one and done. " I recently moved back to the East Coast after two years in California, where I would see, almost daily, those migrant workers you wrote about, gathering at pickup spots or driving a beat-up old pickup truck with too many people to safely fit in the back (if "safe" could ever be a term for anyone sitting in the back of a pickup truck),...
January 25, 2015 |
When preparing food at home, do you: Clean sponges with soap to kill bacteria after wiping up drippings on countertops? Cover Tupperware containers when cooling hot food in the fridge? Rinse chicken in the sink? All not good. "Washing a sponge with soap doesn't get rid of bacteria," said microbiologist Michael Doyle, director of the University of Georgia's Center for Food Safety. They grow at room temperature and get spread around anything else you wipe off. "Put the sponge in a microwave for one minute to kill the salmonella and other bacteria," he said.
January 11, 2015 |
Nearly half of food-borne-illness outbreaks are linked to restaurant food. The microbes that cause them are invisible and taste just fine. So how can you lower your odds of getting sick? "Go look at the bathroom," suggests Ken Gruen, a retired Philadelphia restaurant inspector ("sanitarian") who advises food establishments at Philadelphia International Airport. "If the bathroom is kept in good condition - it's clean, there is soap, there are paper towels, there is not a lot of litter on the floor - probably the kitchen is the same.