…. BREAKFAST WITH SANTA
As a result of the City of Wildomar’s response to my recent Public Records Act request, where I requested all of the documents pertaining to the recent Breakfast With Santa, put on by the City of Wildomar on December 15, 2012, I discovered the following dismaying health facts.
What I discovered was recommendations for substandard kitchen practices that would/should turn the stomachs of any goodhearted and festive consumers, who only sought to be supporters of a local holiday event, and instead, turned out to be the unwitting recipients of potentially contaminated food products.
In an e-mail from Paula Willette, Community Services Manager, dated December 05, 2012, to “K L”(presumably Kristan Lloyd), on behalf of Friends For Wildomar’s Parks, with a carbon copy (“CC”) to Wildomar City Councilmember Bridgette Moore, discussing the proposed food handling procedures for the upcoming event, as follows:
“I’m getting there at 6:30 to start setting up. You will need whatever tools you need to mix and cook eggs, sausage and pancakes. The Scouts (past volunteers) mixed everything in 5 gallon buckets with a drill and mixing paddle and it seemed to work out great. They always had a large group, but I’m not sure how many were actually needed. I’m copying Bridgette on this because she was the woman in charge of the food and has a better handle on it.
When I do big breakfasts, I find it easier to precook the sausage ahead of time and then just warm it up.
I’ll purchase the batter and non-perishable things on Thursday and get the sausage on Friday or if you have room in your fridge, I can get it on Thursday for you.”
In a responsive e-mail from Bridgette Moore, dated December 07, 2012, to Paula and K L, the following:
“… are you cooking on grills? (You will) need warmers to keep eggs/pancakes/sausage warm. Cook ahead.”
According to the USDA, the following:
“Foods, including safely cooked and ready-to-eat foods, can become cross-contaminated with pathogens transferred from raw egg products and raw meat, poultry, and seafood products and their juices, other contaminated products, or from food handlers with poor personal hygiene. Most cases of foodborne illness can be prevented with proper cooking or processing of food to destroy pathogens. “
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It appears from the aforementioned e-mails that the use of uninformed volunteers to prepare breakfast on a large scale probably did not rise to acceptable standards of food preparation.
As would any normal city, the City of Wildomar has created appropriate food handling ordinances, as follows:
Chapter 8.40 FOOD HANDLERS
8.40.010 Purpose and intent.
8.40.030 Food worker’s certificate required.
8.40.050 Application for food worker’s certificate.
8.40.060 Qualification for food worker’s certificate.
8.40.070 Issuance of food worker’s certificate.
8.40.080 Duplicate food worker’s certificate.
8.40.090 Revocation of food worker’s certificate.
8.40.110 Display of food worker’s certificate.
Unfortunately, Wildomar went further than most cities to find a way around their own health ordinances so they have created a global exemption, as follows:
“Any person who engages or serves or seeks employment relating to domestic or household work or to temporary, occasional or intermittent functions of bona fide religious, charitable or public service organizations, including fraternal organizations. veterans’ organizations. established youth organizations, parent-teacher associations, or students in public or private schools under the age of 16 engaged in school food operations, and civic or community organizations or groups, the primary purpose of which is the betterment of the cultural, social or economic welfare and environment of the community, shall be exempt from the provisions of Section 8.40.030. (Ord. 18 § 2, 2008, RCC § 8.44.040)”
Based on the above, any person over the age of 16 who participated in food preparation for Breakfast With Santa should have been required to comply with all of the requirements as “food handlers” under Section 8.40.
Perhaps, in the future, the City of Wildomar should learn to function as a government organization, whose obligation is to protect the health and safety of their citizens, rather than being the well-intentioned purveyors of substandard food products.
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