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Health inspectors shut down local farm dinner
Health inspectors shut down local farm dinner

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AIR DATE: November 3, 2011

The Quail Hollow farm is a Community Supported Agricultural entity that distributes food through a shareholder system.  A couple Fridays ago, the farm's owners organized a dinner for its members.  The meal featured foods harvested from the farm.  Right before service, the health department shut them down.  We find out why.
 
GUESTS
Monte and Laura Bledsoe, farm owners, Quail Hallow Farms
Max Jacobson, farm member
Susan La Bey, Supervisor, Southern Nevada Health District

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COMMENTS:
At first this incident sure did sound like the health dept was being draconian but if it was a private event then why was that application submitted. Also, does anyone contest that the event had commercial advertisments and an admission fee. I am actually sympathetic to the health district. They have laws/regulations to follow/enforce. I am curious that the food could not be given to the pigs. I'm told that the N. Las Vegas pig farm uses food waste from the local casinos. Channel 8 news is about to run a story about this - I think it's the start of sweeps so the preview sounds rather sensationalistic.
aunty palinNov 3, 2011 23:09:19 PM
I couldn't believe the audacity of the health inspectors. Goodness, it's a dinner party. I just went to a wedding that was held in a friend's backyard. We had about 100 guests and it was catered as well. Should we have had the health inspector there as well. The food was served in silver serving containers with a little heating candle underneath. Maybe they should come and bust every wedding event as well. I am sure all of the foods are outside the safety zone. So do they send out inspectors to Mesquite for private dinners too or is that too far away? Ridiculous. The health department should hold their head in shame. Support LOCAl growers! There are less and less private farmers in this country to begin with. We don't need to be harassing them.
Jimmy StevensonNov 3, 2011 09:38:58 AM
If the health inspector had allowed the food to be served and people had gotten sick, the uproar would be just as strong and critical of the inspector. The "don't tread on me" thread through this story fails to acknowledge that food safety laws are there for a reason. Take a microbiology class.
EdwardNov 3, 2011 09:13:34 AM
You not a smart person. Microbiolgy doesn't teach you anything about food safety. Yes, I took it and probably have more food safety experience than you, Max. During Thanksgiving when your private party gets sick, should the health department come investigate you too??? This isn't the San Genaro feast or the Renaissance Fair. The issue is that the health department didn't belong there. I am glad the food critic was there and knew something about health laws.
JimmyNov 3, 2011 09:42:37 AM
Jimmy I felt no need to display my credentials but undergraduate, graduate, and professional experience in the field of Public Health provide me with sufficient understanding of the nature of this issue. Food safety is microbiology. The growth rates of microorganisms, which of course varies by temperature among other factors, is a large part of the time and temperature controls built into food safety codes across the country. While nobody here has advocated that health departments regulate meals in private homes, the regulation of businesses which serve meals in exchange for money is quite common. If this farm can cook food and sell it restaurant style, it is not unreasonable that the Health Department should be at least somewhat interested in whether the food was prepared in a safe manner, just like they do at other traditional restaurants. Perhaps the food code could use a special section for events such as this. Perhaps the people of Clark County do not wish to require safe food handling practices for these types of events. The issue seems to be whether the current standard for food safety is appropriate for farm to fork events.
EdwardNov 3, 2011 20:27:53 PM
Kudos to Max Jacobson for bringing up lack of oversight on Monsanto & GMO's. An issue not getting the coverage it deserves. What does it tell us that Pharmaceutical Companies control our food supply & are not required to lable their products as GM? Support Quail Hallows Farm & CSAs, Farmers Markets & organic producers. Thanks for the coverage.
A.L.CodyNov 2, 2011 20:47:40 PM
I LOVE the food from Laura on Saturdays. What happened there at the farm is such a travesty. I guess we ALL need to be growing our own REAL food, and inviting guests over to share, for free. I'm generally one who believes in government acting on behalf of people, but I'm seeing my naivate in this respect. The anit-govt. folks have a point here....although in this case, wanna bet their the ones who are all FOR this action? Pitiful, really.
Teresa OwensNov 2, 2011 15:16:44 PM
Yes, thank you for sharing this story! I was really wishing for more time and in depth discussion... especially between Mr. Max and the Ms. Susan! I like that the Bledsoe's touched on legalizing raw milk in this state, since I drive to St. George Utah to get mine. And by crossing state lines with it, I'm braking the law!
Carolyn WaiteNov 2, 2011 15:03:08 PM
Why are you labeling this occurence on your website as a "raid?" Sounds like this public service agency was doing their job - protecting public health. I say way to go!
Susan EiseltNov 2, 2011 10:02:40 AM
In this case, it sounds like they overstepped their boundary. It is not a resaurant or a festival. It's a farm and a private dinner. Does the Dept of Ag not have jurisdiction over it? As the other commenter said below, I don't see why they had to destroy all their food with bleach if they are on a farm and cannot even feed their animals with the large amount of food that was not allowed to feed people. It did sound like they sent an inexperienced inspector to the event as well. The comment made by the supervisor that they were watching the farm for a while sounds evil and threatening. Why were you looking at them? Did they do something wrong before? Why is the health district looking or keeping tabs on a farm? That is a function of the Department of Agriculture. I think heads should roll at the health district if an internal investigation finds that the health district overstepped their boundaries by an overzealous supervisor.
Steven HalsethNov 2, 2011 10:47:00 AM
It seems to me that all of the food poisoning cases that I hear about come from fast food establishments or other such commercial ventures. I don't believe I've ever heard about a farm event, family event or private reception event, back yard bbq or the like having food poisoning episodes, or bugs in the food, or fingers in the food, or any other foreign substance that seems to be always cropping up in commercial establishments. I'll take my chances at the farm, thank you very much!
Haunani TaylorFeb 5, 2013 16:10:28 PM
I used to work in a casino kitchen here in Pahrump. We were given up to 2 weeks notice that the health inspector was expected. There is/was not a food grade sink in the kitchen. Hand washing and slop dumping was normal in the same sinks that food was handled including thawing meats from the freezer.
MichaelNov 2, 2011 10:02:16 AM
Sounds like the food inspector was a newbvie who didnt know what she was doing if she is calling her supervisor for every question. Why cant you feed the food to animals if you cant feed the people? How much experience does the supervisor and health inspector have?
JohnNov 2, 2011 09:59:02 AM
The inspector was probably calling because people like Max were rude, threatening, and uncooperative. If you were about to shut down a large dinner like this because they hadn't done their food right, wouldn't you call your boss? Looks like the inspector was wise to do so after all this public outcry. How about we get an answer to the question: "Was the food cooked and served as the rules require?" Oh, and why wasn't the chef on the show? He could have told us all about how the food was cooked, when, etc. Seems odd that he wouldn't be on if every thing was on the up and up.
EdwardNov 3, 2011 09:26:56 AM
Thank you, SON, for sharing this story. Laura and Monte, you are warriors and we support you!!!
Amy AlexanianNov 1, 2011 22:47:55 PM
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