Things are not looking any hotter for soft-serve in the city. The food inspection that began two weekends ago has led to deeper secrets in the bowels of spinning soft-serve machinery. Coliform bacteria levels as high as one million per gram far exceeds the federal guidelines of ten. Initially, vendors near City Hall and the CN Tower were found to have the highest coliform count in their vanilla cones. But after another round of lab tests, Kew Gardens by the Beaches host the one million count. Last Thursday, Danny Foulidis ordered his ice-cream shop to be closed, agreeing to a closer inspection by the city.
David McKeown, the Toronto Medical Officer of Health is leading the ongoing food inspection, and thus far, there are no traces of listeria or other human pathogens in the vendors. Instead, he recommends that people keep perspective on the matter, being cautious but not carefree in their summer leisure.
As we’ve seen with the foggy trail of inspections with Maple Leaf Foods, can we actually know what exactly Toronto Public Health is looking at? Mechanics: trucks, vendors, machines. Sanitation: waste and water holding tanks, refrigeration, vehicle cleanliness, server’s hygiene. But, inspections like these only happen once a year, and the smaller nooks of machine parts are not normally combed. Individual operators should be responsible for such details, they say. Such as the O-ring that separates the spinning ice-cream from refrigerated mixing vats, which ensures that the seal is tight enough to prevent leaking or reverse flow. This little rubber thing is a pinpointed cause of concern so far in the investigation.
Well, a bit of a damper on the visit to the beach, I suppose.
But all the more reason to have a barbeque in the well-controlled, sanitized environment of your own home (just don’t say that in your invitations.)
No coliform here, baby!
After an afternoon of hard labour, we had the Ohio Team and their lovely volunteers and drivers over for some dinner. My sister made these ice-cream sandwiches, a really cheat-easy way to put something sweet together for a summer barbeque. When you’re hosting a larger group, it can be hard to give every item the same amount of attention, so she softened a tub of ice-cream before smushing them in-between store-bought cookies.
To avoid having ice pucks for cookies, freeze the assembled sandwich for about an hour and serve immediately. In the unlikely case of leftovers, wrap the cookies individually and store for up to one week.
Source: Diana Zlomislic, 27 June 2009, http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/657632