Busy Calgary restaurant shut down over health violations

CALGARY- A busy southwest fast food restaurant has been shut down, after a surprise inspection by health inspectors.

The unannounced inspection was conducted at the Wendy’s on Macleod Trail and 70 Ave. last Wednesday, and inspectors found 16 safety violations.

The issues included an employee who didn’t wash their hands while handling raw meat, raw hamburger in a cooler that was too warm, black mold and water damage in the staff room and grease and oil on the floor.

Food safety experts say for a food chain of Wendy’s size, the inspection results are of major concern.

“In most cases big chains like that have higher standards in place already, so if they get closed down it means there’s been a big breakdown in their system,” explains Domenic Pedulla from the Canadian Food Safety Group. “It speaks to a breakdown in the whole culture that’s in that location, right from the front line which is people who are preparing and handling food, all the way up to district manager to the regional manager.”

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Wendy’s says that the Macleod Trail location is one of their oldest stores, and was already slated for renovations.

“The reason that the restaurant has been closed is not because someone has been made ill, it is because we have an older building that requires repairs,” says Lisa Deletroz, spokesperson for Wendy’s Canada. “Part of those repairs involves making it a safer working environment.”

Employees at the affected location have been reassigned and will undergo additional training, and the restaurant will have to be visited by health inspectors again before it can reopen.

“Once those items on the closure order have been rectified, then they’ll contact the team and will have to be re-inspected before they’re allowed to reopen again,” explains Sarah Nunn, supervisor of the food safety program for Alberta Health Services.

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AHS currently posts a list of all restaurant inspections and closures on its website, but some safety experts are calling for a rating system to be posted at restaurant entrances. Nunn says that so far, there are no plans to do that.

“That would have to be something that Alberta Health and the ministry decide upon, and if they decide that’s the way they want to go then absolutely we will go that way.”

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