There’s been  some good news for restaurant operators in New York City. Food safety fines will be reduced. The $50 million-a-year revenue will now be brought down to an estimated $30 million. (What’s $20 million between friends anyway?) In addition, grade standards will be reassessed, an office will be created to mediate between operators and inspectors and food safety training will be offered by the Health Department…for a nominal fee. While the first consultation will not cost the operator, after that, who knows. I still smell profitability. The exact details of how this will be accomplished have yet to be disclosed, but it is a step in the right direction. Food safety should not be all about generating cash flow. Protecting consumers’ health and the restaurant’s reputation and liability should be the main focus. As I have said all along, what is fair is fair. If you prepare food in a way that puts consumers at risk, you should get hit hard in the wallet. Having a wet wiping cloth outside sanitizer solution should not cost you $300 in fines, nor should a fruit fly on an environmental surface for that matter. What the department of health needs to do is make the violations that have a direct potential correlation to foodborne illness cost the most. Cross-contamination, adulterated food, thermal abuse, sick food workers and hand washing need to be at the forefront of an inspection. Looking at the root cause and some training tips would better serve food service establishments, rather than an inspector bringing the hammer down on petty citations. Food inspectors will always be looked at as the enemy; however, a little fairness and respect goes a long way. Stay tuned…we will see how this plays out.

  • mjv64

    A wet wiping cloth outside sanitizing solution can be an incubator of bacteria and cause contamination just like a piece of raw chicken (see the commercial anybody?). Money is a driven force for most of the restaurant operators, unfortunately. Maybe, the health departments should use the revenue to establish a food safety rewards to encourage the good practice.

    • ironic

      Money is only what health deoartment wants, chinese inspectors are so mind, coming from a country that use to eat rats, the enjoy applying fee after fee on every single drop they found in a restaurant. It’s annoying to have 6 inspections during a year, when GMOS are the real peopke killers. Anyone take a look of health department offices and see how dirty they are…it’s is not ironic where the inspectors come from to check your place?

  • David Walpuck

    Thanks for your comment. A sponge can be just as bad. However, if the cloth is fresh, has been soaked in a 200ppm concentration of Quat Sanitizer and the bacteria has been reduced to a safe level, is it really going to cross contaminate a prep table? I don’t see $300 as a fair fine per cloth.
    A reward?…it is part of the job.
    By the way, all commercials are meant to sell you something. I’m not sold

  • jvaljon1

    I grew up during the 40s and 50s, when I married and began having my children. Never in all that time—-NEVER!!!—were there ever cases of food poisoning. Now, how did that come about? Well, in those days, the FDA ruled with an iron hand, taking samples of produce and meat(s), well before ship dates—and, should there be a problem with anything, the producer was given no warning—he was just summarily shut down. I thought, how wonderful….without realizing that healthy time when we grew up, we were being protected by a vibrant agency with a multitude of workers. We didn’t HAVE to use ‘hand sanitizer’—-if some third-world country had to use them, we shook our heads and wished them well, hoping that they’d soon come up to our standards.

    Then came Republicans. Most of us knew about them from our grandparents, who warned us—but they only warned us about FINANCIAL disasters, and we the former Middle Class, had no idea what would happen when Republicans looted the FDA of all hands. This happened from 1980 onward, and the results are now in: NO CIVILIZED COUNTRY HAS ANY BUSINESS VOTING IN REPUBLICANS. To do so, results in so many more disasters than simply unjust wars and anti-Americans shipping our jobs overseas—-now, thanks to the fact that there are just one or two FDA people in ONE AREA (not one state, mind you—one AREA)—-people in America have long been dying of the same diseases that used to be common before the turn of the last century. Among these are the parasitic diseases; they’ve made a royal comeback, and that’s because in fact, AREA food producers and shippers don’t have to follow any rules at all; just have their people pick the stuff—wash it so the dirt doesn’t show—aerate it dry, package it, and send it out. Everyone says (whines) well, you’ve had Barack Obama for 6 years now, so it’s got to be HIS fault. Without admitting that there’s a Republican Congress–let by a turtle-faced old cretin, Mitch McConnell (R-KS) SO DETERMINED TO MAKE OBAMA FAIL, that they’re willing to trim the FDA even further from its former pathetic self; make people ill, and then blame the President?! A BABY can see through these people, why do they continue the lies and (now attempted) deceits?

    Doesn’t matter. We’re signing people up to vote all over the country. Soon the Republican Congress (and almost!) and/or Senate, will be nothing more than a bad dream. Hopefully, because if that DOESN’T happen, this country will be swinging from the same sorry flagpole that Greece now is, with the yammering right-wingers screaming “SEQUESTER! We have to STEAL (excuse me) NOT ALLOW TOO MANY JOBS BACK HOME….that’s gonna mean, too much money in the hands of the masses (whoops, we meant to say Middle Class) and then we’re going to have to start the same sorry procedure, all over again!”

    Because, ever since the First Great Depression that they engineered, Republicans have always only been about ONE THING: getting the ‘masses’ to pay their G/D taxes for them, and meddling incessantly with our work life and rules. This has to STOP…AND NOW!

    May this cyclospora be the last food-borne illness that we ever see. I will add—may this year’s so-called “Congress” (which did nothing but treat our President like an enemy) be 1) FORCED TO GIVE BACK THE WAGES THAT IT DID NOT EARN and 2) it wouldn’t be a bad look for Old Turtleface, to have his disgusting kisser framed by a couple of good, solid prison bars.