About 1,000 reports Syed Rizwan Farook prepared for the San Bernardino County Division of Environmental Health Services indicate that he was a “by the book” food safety inspector before he took up mass murder. The San Bernardino, CA, shooting that rocked the nation on Wednesday, Dec. 2, occurred at a holiday luncheon for county public health employees. It was reportedly carried out in part by 28-year-old Farook, who was an environmental health services inspector for the county’s Public Health Department for the past five years. He graduated in 2010 from Cal State San Bernardino with a bachelor’s degree in environmental health. Food Safety News has obtained Farook’s inspection reports and found nothing that stood out as unusual. As recently as mid-September, Farook was sent to Loma Linda, CA, because a complaint was filed against the Loma Linda Inn for operating a kitchen without a permit. “The person in charge stated that the staff places packaged cereal and bagels for their customers at the coffee station,” notes the report Farook wrote. “No boiled eggs are served.” He told the innkeeper that no permit was required as long as customers were merely serving themselves coffee, bagels, and cold cereal. Farook quickly closed the complaint after being at the premises for less than an hour. In his inspections, Farook made little use of the “Additional Comments” section of his reports, but he did appear to provide sufficient examinations for those areas that most concerned him during an inspection. During the previous month, Farook checked out the Save More Oriental Market, also in Loma Linda, to see if it was operating with a valid health permit. In a 10-minute visit, he found the facility closed and all equipment removed. Farook inactivated the market’s permit. In November 2014, Farook gave Mariscos Espinoza in San Bernardino an “A” for scoring 83 points in a regular restaurant inspection lasting just short of two hours. He found one critical violation, requiring immediate correction, for insufficient hot water. And, in August 2014, Farook gave a “B” grade to Ro Chinatown Fast Food for 82 points scored in an inspection lasting one hour and 14 minutes. He found three critical violations covering hand-washing, water temperatures, and cleaning and sanitizing food contact services. “Employee was told to portion the chow mien so that it can cool to below 41F within the allotted 6 hours,” Farook wrote. “Employee was told to portion out the deep bucket of chow mien from the walk-in cooler and started portioning the chow mien while he was wearing dishwashing gloves. Observed these dishwashing gloves stained/soiled.” Farook also detailed his instructions to employees about requirements that they wash their hands “before beginning work, before handling food/equipment/utensils, (and) as often as necessary, during food preparation, to remove soil and contamination; when switching from working with raw to ready to eat foods, after touching body parts; after using the toilet room, or any time when contamination may occur.” In addition, he ordered the employees to wear gloves if they have “cuts, wounds, fake nails, and/or rashes.” Inspection reports reviewed by Food Safety News appear to show Farook doing more site inspections prior to this year, but if so, the reason is not clear. Non-essential San Bernardino County employees are off work today and Friday. The killings, which law enforcement officials said were carried out by Farook and his 27-year-old wife, Tashfeen Malik, likely included people who worked for Farook’s former division and department. Food Safety News has asked where staff losses might leave the division in terms of readiness and ability to maintain inspection schedules, but has not yet heard back from county officials. The pair reportedly shot a total of 35 people, killing 14 and wounding 21, at the holiday luncheon on Wednesday. Afterward, Farook and Malik were killed in a shootout with police. San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said the pair were the only shooters at the Inland Regional Center where the lunch was held. Under local and state codes, San Bernardino’s environmental health services division is responsible for inspecting restaurants, public pools, hotels and motels, body art facilities, and rental housing. It also oversees community food producers and cottage food operations. San Bernardino is the largest county in the United States by area and the 12th-largest county by population, with more than 2.1 million people.
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