Restaurateurs see a reminder in burger place’s food safety issue

Food safety infractions at Carl’s Jr. highlights the importance of diligence, say restaurateurs

Carl’s Jr.’s food safety troubles are seen as an isolated incident by other Gasoline Alley restaurateurs who say their industry is rigorously inspected.

Carly McKinnon, who owns the Press’d The Sandwich Company franchise next to Carl’s Jr., used the CBC-obtained video showing food safety violations at Carl’s as a training exercise.

“I showed it. (I said) this is what happens. People are always watching,” said McKinnon, who also owns a Press’d franchise in Leduc.

“I’m sharing it with my staff. I just want to make sure they’re stepping it up.”

McKinnon said new employees are always given extensive training in food safety before they begin their jobs.

A key lesson is to be aware of what you touch when handling food. For instance, cellphones and eyeglasses are often covered in germs.

“We don’t do anything without gloves,” she said.

Video cameras also record what goes on in food preparation areas at her restaurant. That footage is regularly reviewed by Press’d’s corporate food safety people.

McKinnon said she sympathizes with her restaurant neighbour.

“I feel bad for them but I feel thankful for the lesson.”

Another Gasoline Alley restaurant owner was appalled by the video footage.

“That’s just horrible. That’s why spatulas are made,” said the woman, who asked that her restaurant and name not be used.

She believes the incident was isolated and expects that other restaurants will take another look at their operations to ensure all rules are followed.

She does not think this one incident will discourage any customers heading to Gasoline Alley restaurants.

Provincial inspectors examine restaurants regularly, she said. They come to hers about once a month and the inspections are thorough.

If temperatures in food storage areas are even one or two degrees off, the inspectors note it.

Another woman who said she once worked in food preparation at the Carl’s Jr. in Gasoline Alley, said she made sure no one touched or handled any food under her care and there were no problems then.

She feels for the staff and what they must be going through.

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