A Hunter River bakery that was closed for three days in February by provincial health inspectors was hit with a warning letter this month.
Inspectors conducted a routine inspection of By The River Bakery on Oct. 10 and noted eight different health violations.
The issues include failing to maintain potentially hazardous food at appropriate cold holding temperatures, failure to properly thaw food, a dishwasher that was not dispensing sanitizer into the final rinse cycle and failing to maintain the premises and equipment in a clean and sanitary condition.
Selena Song, the owner of the bakery, said she takes these issues extremely seriously and immediately addressed all of them.
Kelly Hughes, senior environmental health officer with the Department of Health and Wellness, agreed all critical items were addressed and corrected on the spot on Oct. 10 and everything remained satisfactory when inspectors returned for a follow-up inspection on Wednesday.
“All the critical items were addressed to a satisfaction level before the inspector left that day,’’ Hughes said.
The following establishments recently received warning letters for operating without a valid food premises license:
- Flea market, St. Peters Road, Charlottetown (since renewed)
- O’Leary Community Sports Centre (since renewed)
- O’Leary United Church
- St. Peters Roman Catholic Church
- Tignish Elementary School (since renewed)
- Westisle Composite High School breakfast program (since renewed)
In regards to the cold temperature issue, Hughes said an item was identified as not being refrigerated when it was required to be, but was immediately moved into refrigeration before any problems could occur.
With the thawing matter, Hughes said ground beef was thawing at room temperature but the issue was caught in time, “that it could safely be moved to refrigeration’’. As for the sanitary issue, Hughes said it was, “noted that things were slipping a bit’’ but, again, the issue was addressed immediately.
She added that a spray bottle of sanitizer had no measurable level of sanitizer in it, but was remixed and corrected on the spot. And, as for the dishwasher, staff was able to manually wash the dishes and the dishwasher has since been repaired.
Song said it’s a challenge running a small business and inspectors show up unannounced, sometimes catching staff off guard at the worst possible time. Song said customers are allowed to walk into the freezer to look over the pies, for example. Problem is, when the freezer door shuts, it takes a while before the temperature returns to normal and then a health inspector walks in and identifies the cold temperature issue.
Song also said they have added automatic hand soap dispensers, a new walk-in cooler system and just renovated their freezer.
She added that on one day this year, it was hot in the bakery so they opened one of the windows just a crack only to have a health inspector walk in and identify it as a pest-risk issue. She said they haven’t had a pest issue in 20 years and pay a local firm to keep it that way.
Song said they try to stay on top of things on a day-to-day basis and please the health department but one of the challenges is she doesn’t speak perfect English and the health department doesn’t employ a health inspector who speaks Chinese and can communicate exactly what inspectors expect. Hughes said a translator can be provided on request but Song said it comes at a fee.
“We’re like a big family,’’ Song said. “You want to take of your family (and customers). I have tried and I will keep trying.’’