Saturday, October 10, 2009

UPDATE: Ruby Chinese Restaurant Salmonella Outbreak

October 10, 2009

The Ruby Chinese Restaurant (1571 Sandhurst Circle, Scarborough) remains closed today after Toronto health inspectors discovered numerous food safety violations in the east end establishment.

The restaurant was inspected on October 7th as part of the City's ongoing investigation into a Salmonella outbreak that health officials have linked to the restaurant. A re-inspection – carried out yesterday – determined that Ruby was not yet ready to reopen.

Toronto health officials have stated that the restaurant will not be allowed to reopen until they are satisfied that no unsafe practices remain.

According to Toronto Public Health, 22 Salmonella illnesses have now been lab-confirmed among patrons who ate at Ruby Chinese Restaurant between September 12th and September 20th. An additional 15 cases are awaiting lab confirmation. Three victims were hospitalized, and an elderly man has died. No new cases have appeared since the initial outbreak report.

Toronto's municipal code requires restaurants to post their most recent food inspection notice and, on request, to furnish the related inspection report. But this would not have helped Ruby's patrons to avoid a hazardous situation. Ruby's Chinese Restaurant underwent three health inspections in 2009 prior to and following the outbreak – on April 29th, August 24th and September 29th. Each time, it earned a passing grade.

In contrast, the October 7th inspection report listed the following serious infractions:
  • Crucial Infraction: Failure to ensure food is not contaminated/adulterated
  • Crucial Infraction: Failure to prevent an insect infestation
  • Significant Infraction: Failure to use proper utensils to ensure food safety
  • Significant Infraction: Failure to use proper procedure(s) to ensure food safety
  • Significant Infraction: Failure to properly wash large utensils
  • Significant Infraction: Failure to clean washroom fixtures
  • Significant Infraction: Failure to provide adequate pest control
The October 9th report from Toronto Public Health does not mention how many of these infractions remain uncorrected.

The restaurant will be inspected again over the weekend, according to a report carried by Barfblog. Perhaps the third time will be a charm.

Meanwhile, we still have to ask how Ruby Chinese Restaurant managed to pass all of its previous food safety inspections without difficulty – even the inspections carried out on August 24th and September 29th, shortly before and after the Salmonella outbreak.

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