Food poisoning concerns prompt restaurant closure

Region forces China Express to shut down

By Scott Rosts, the News

Lincoln

Jul 30, 2008

 

Source of Article:  http://www.niagarathisweek.com/news/communities/Lincoln/article/194816

 

A west-end Chinese food restaurant has been temporarily shut down as Niagara Regional Public Health officials are investigating potential links to customers complaining of food poisoning.

China Express, located at 4630 Victoria Ave. in Vineland, was closed Friday, July 24. The closure came after the Region began an investigation into alleged food poisoning incidents.

"We had a call from some people that alleged a foodborne illness," said Dave Young, manager of Environmental Health.

That prompted a visit from health officials to the restaurant, resulting in the owners being forced to close.

"We had concerns about unsanitary conditions and food handling," said Mr. Young.

Whether or not the illness stemmed from the restaurant, however, is "unconfirmed as of yet", said Mr. Young. He said he can't comment on how many people reported being ill or other details, as the investigation is still in its preliminary stages.

Now, said Mr. Young, the Region will be working with the owners to improve the conditions of the facility, along with providing educational training on things such as food handling.

The "unsanitary conditions", for example, could be improved simply by general housekeeping practices, he said.

To date, said Mr. Young, the owners have been cooperative with the Region.

"By the time they reopen ... it will be safe (to eat at)," said Mr. Young.

The timeline for that, however, is difficult to identify. It will be a matter of how quickly the changes and educational components can be completed.

This is not the first time China Express has been the subject of an offence. The most recent came May 30, when it was convicted of operating a food premise "maintained in a manner permitting a health hazard". It also didn't meet compliance for other sanitary issues during an inspection on June 5. Previous issues date back to as early as July of 2007.

Since that June 5 inspection, however, Mr. Young said the ownership changed.

Information on closures and convictions of Niagara eating establishments can be found online at http://infodine.yourniagara.ca or via links at www.regional.niagara.on.ca. Convictions remain posted for six months from the date of the offence or closure.

Mr. Young said the site is updated twice a week for residents to educate themselves on the status of local operators.

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