In January of '14, a Pennsylvania jury found Timothy Lesko and the Pittsburgh Elks Club liable for $28 million in compensatory and punitive damages due to Lesko driving while intoxicated which led two deaths and two victims with injuries.
This was the fourth largest “Dram Shop” Law award in 20 years. The jury attributed 40% liability to the Elks Lodge and 60% liability to Lesko. The Elks Lodge held a “Gun Bash” event which was billed as “all you can eat and drink” with unlimited food and beer provided. Attendees could serve themselves at unmonitored drink stations. Lesko had consumed more than 10 beers, began to exhibit slurred speech, glassy eyes and a staggering gait according to some witnesses; however 20 witnesses testified that he showed no signs of intoxication.
Leuko was at the event for two hours. The liver can only process the alcohol contained in a 12oz. beer at a rate of one an hour, which means that after two hours he was at least eight beers beyond what his liver could process and that was proven when his blood alcohol level tested out at .226, almost three times the legal limit. Lesko left the event and less than a 1/4 mile away was traveling at a speed of 70 miles and crossed the center lane, hitting a car head-on and killing William Grice and Jessica Trail while severely injuring Amanda Delval Jessica and Michael Trail.
Typically a can of beer has a wholesale cost of about 50 cents. Beer, or any other alcohol served irresponsibly can be very costly. Tragically two lives were cut short and two others were horribly injured. In this case each can ended up costing nearly $3 million dollars a piece in damages.
Tennessee requires all servers of alcohol to have a Server Permit which can be obtained after successfully passing an alcohol responsibility class. Restaurant Class offers the 6-hour ServSafe Alcohol class which is approved by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Our instructors teach the class in person with the course book provided. The 40-question exam is given electronically and as soon as you finish, you will learn if you have passed and if so, can apply for your server permit.
In 1985, California experienced a food borne illness outbreak that caused 142 cases of listeriosis resulting in 52 fatalities (including 10 infants and 19 stillbirths). The food source of the outbreak was a Mexican style soft cheese (Queso Fresco) made by Jalisco that was infected with unsafe levels of the bacterium known as Listeria monocytogenes. The root cause of the issue was that a non-licensed technician performed the pasteurization process and non-pasteurized milk made it into the production line. Listeria causes an infection called listeriosis, which is usually a mild illness for pregnant women, but it causes severe disease in the fetus or newborn baby. Some people with Listeria infections - most commonly adults 65 years and older and people with weakened immune systems - develop severe infections of the bloodstream (causing sepsis) or brain (causing meningitis or encephalitis). According the the CDC on average 1600 people are infected each year and 260 die.
Fast forward 21 years and Listeria has not gone away! According to the FDA, there were hundreds of recalls in 2016 for manufactured food products. Most common reasons for recalls are undeclared allergens, Salmonella and Listeria. Listeria was a factor in recalls of these products:
RTE sandwiches, RTE salads, (ready-to-eat foods do not go through a further cooking process which kills bacterium), organic vegetables, cantaloupes, broccoli salad, cut apples, sausage and egg muffins, biscuits, fried rice, trail mix, walnuts, sunflower seeds, cookie dough, frozen corn, cut green beans, potato salad, herring, frozen waffles, pasta salad, smoked salmon, hummus and tens of thousands of gallons of ice cream from dozens of ice cream brands that were tainted with listeria-infected cookie dough from one supplier. Additionally ,in 2016 the USDA (which regulates meat, poultry and eggs) listed Listeria related recalls for 2,058,777 pounds of meat and poultry products from A. Windsor, Inc. and 363,888 pounds of hotdogs from B-S Foods!
Why is Listeria so prevalent and dangerous? Listeria, like many other bacterium, can be killed through normal heat treatment processes such as pasteurization or cooking. What sets listeria apart from most other bacterium is it’s ability to grow in cold temperatures. Most bacterium do not grow well in temperatures less than 41ºF. Listeria on the other hand can grow at temperatures as low as 32ºF and thus refrigerated and RTE food are very susceptible to growth of the Listeria Bacterium.
Restaurant Class has a Certified HACCP Manager and Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI) on staff. We can help food manufacturing operations write food safety plans and/or validate the effectiveness of food safety procedures with food safety audits and on-site testing for the presence of pathogens such as Listeria, Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7. Additionally, we can test your equipment and facilities for the presence of allergens such as eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, crustacea, soy, milk and gluten.
Call 615-800-8493 or email email@example.com for a quote today.
In North Yorkshire, England Mohammed Zaman, 53, (above left) was found guilty of manslaughter after he used cheaper ground peanuts at his restaurants rather than almond powder, resulting in the death of nut allergy sufferer Paul Wilson, 38, (above right).
While the motive for Mr. Zaman to substitute ground peanuts for ground almonds was greed, it is also possible that Mr. Zaman was ignorant of how dangerous allergic reactions can be for customers. His greed and or ignorance unfortunately killed a customer landed him in prison for six years and bankrupted his six-unit restaurant chain.
In the U.S., 15 million people have food allergies. Every day about five million of them eat in a restaurant or other food establishment. Some people have food allergies so severe that ingesting an allergen can have fatal consequences. The vast majority of food allergens that affect people involve foods that are in the Big Eight: dairy, wheat, tree nuts, eggs, peanuts, soy, seafood and shellfish.
The best way to protect your customers and your brand is to make sure that your managers and employees are aware of the potential allergic reactions as well as ways to prevent them. Restaurant Class offers the ServSafe™ Allergen on-line course for $22 in both English and Spanish. The course takes a couple of hours and you can start and stop instruction at your leisure (over 90 days). There is an assessment at the end and those successfully passing will receive a certificate of completion.
Photo credit: Daily Mail
*Source: Daily Mail May 23, 2016
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3604753/Penny-pinching-curry-house-boss-GUILTY-killing-allergic-customer-giving-takeaway-containing-peanuts-cheaper-almonds.html#ixzz4jKd2zyn7
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Chipotle Mexican Grill's (NYSE:CMG) motto is “Food with integrity” and over many years they've worked very hard to source the best food products and build one of the best brands in the country.
In the latter half of 2015 there were six separate food borne illness outbreaks traced to Chipotle Restaurants, sickening over 500 people in 40 states.* In Seattle, five people were sickened with E. coli O157:H7, source: unknown. In Simi Valley, CA, 234 people were sickened with Norovirus, source: unknown. In Minnesota, 64 people were sickened with Salmonella Newport, source: tomatoes. In CA, IL, MD, MN, NY, OH, OR, PA, WA 52 people were sickened with E. coli O26, source: unknown. In Boston 136 people were sickened with Norovirus, source: unknown. Fortunately there were no known fatalities.
The cost of lost sales, re-training of employees, and the recent purchases of new air purifiers and ice machine sanitizers is sure to tally up to many millions of dollars for the 2200-unit chain.*
In August of 2015, CMG - once Wall Street’s hottest restaurant stock - was valued at $759 a share. With 29,3000,000 shares outstanding, that’s a market capitalization of over $23 billion. Fast forward one year after the six food borne illness outbreaks and CMG’s stock price dropped to $432 a share, a drop of 44% or in market capitalization terms, a loss of over $10 billion!
Chipotle is revamping their food safety training for their managers and employees and working hard to regain their brand’s reputation. Hopefully they will recover. All restaurants should learn from this scenario that your brand’s reputation is priceless.
So what does food safety training cost? The answer is it depends. A preventative approach with good training standards and an effective food safety program could cost several thousand dollars. A reactive, streamlined approach to food safety training and ineffective food safety program could cost billions!
Check out Restaurant Class's competitive pricing on ServSafe Manager and Food Handler safety certification classes in English and Spanish:
In 2011, across the U.S. there were zero fatalities from shark attacks or terrorist attacks. There were 26 fatalities due to lightning strikes. At the top of the list? Cantaloupes! That's right, cantaloupes grown on Jensen Farms in Holly, Colorado were the source of an outbreak of Listeriosis monocytogenes food poisoning across 28 states, resulting in 147 confirmed cases and 33 fatalities! Thats more than sharks, lightning and terrorist attacks combined. The FDA investigation determined that four separate strains of Listeria were found on farm services including: used corroded farming equipment, the plant floor, in water pooled on the farm's conveyor belt and by leaving out an important chlorination stage to kill bacteria. It was theorized that Listeria was possibly introduced to the farm by a "dump truck used to take culled melons to a cattle farm." The owners of the farm pled guilty to six charges of introducing tainted cantaloupe into interstate commerce and declared bankruptcy.
These melons were conveyed to the public via grocery stores and through broad line food distributors to restaurants. The pathogen Listeria monocytogenes can be destroyed by heating a food to 165º F in the cooking process, however cantaloupe is a fresh fruit typically served raw and cold under 41ºF. The FDA advises “to wash all fruits and vegetables under running water just before eating, cutting or cooking," even if you plan to peel the produce first. Scrub firm produce such as melons and cucumbers with a clean produce brush to reduce pathogens to a safe level to the average consumer, though infants, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems might still be at risk. The average person at home ,or untrained cook in a restaurant, is likely to not scrub a cantaloupe with a brush under clean water since melons generally have a “clean” appearance and the Listeria pathogen on the melon skin can only be viewed under a microscope and not with the naked eye. Another issue is that many people figure that since the melon is peeled and the skin is discarded, there is no threat. However, when the peeling knife’s blade pierces the skin, it transfers the pathogen directly to the edible flesh of the melon which is then consumed by the end user.
A restaurant can better protect its customers, its business and its reputation by training its employees in food safety and by having an effective food protection program. Check out Restaurant Class's Food Safety Classes:
*William Neuman (October 19, 2011). "Listeria Outbreak Traced to Cantaloupe Packing Shed". New York Times.