Vancouver Coaster Health ordered to close down Foody World, a grocery store in Richmond, B.C. after one person died and another five people were hospitalized for Listeria infection. The scandal has sparked heated reactions from the community. While some are deeply concerned about safety of food bought at Chinese supermarkets, others are skeptical about the health authorities’ order, complaining that the shutdown order lacks evidence to support and is unfair to the store.
“Deli sold at Chinese groceries are not fresh… scandals seem to have appeared not just in Vancouver but in other cities such as Toronto and New York,” says one post on Chinese social media WeChat.
The store president Wei, Chengyi publically denied the accusation in the Chinese media that the store was the source of the Listeria outbreak. “The store has received over 100,000 customers since its inception, and if the store was the source of the outbreak, there would have been a large number of people affected, rather than only six.”
His complaint has elicited some supporting posts:
“Costco was linked to the Listeria outbreak in 2015, and there was no order to shut it down. However, the order to shut down Foody World was only based on suspicion. Chinese media has widely spread the information (about the shutdown order), totally ignoring the facts… Chinese media needs to grow and learn how to treat people fairly.”
Chinese News has brought these concerns to the Vancouver Coastal Health, seeking their response.
The health authority says the decision to shut down the store was not based on suspicion but solid evidence. In an email response to questions from Chinese News regarding the store owner’s concerns, Claudia Kurzac, Manager of Health Protection wrote:
“We observed poor food handling and sanitation practices in the store and Listeria was found in food and the environment in the store. The whole store needed to be closed to allow for thorough cleaning and sanitizing.”
Kurzac also said that the same health and safety standards apply to all restaurants and commercial kitchens. “Vancouver Coastal Health has investigated other stores and foods during the course of the investigation, and it did not find Listeria in the food produced by other stores”.
“Listeria is a serious, and can be fatal, illness, so we are taking this contamination very seriously… We did find listeria in the food produced by Foody World.”
She further explained that a product recall would not be effectively enough to ensure the store meeting health and safety standards.
“This is not a recall of one product. This recall is for dozens of different products, all made in-house or found in this particular store. In the recent case of Costco, the recall was for one brand of a product. This product was not made in-house in Costco. Costco was not preparing these foods. Foody World had to be closed to allow for thorough cleaning, sanitizing and discarding of potentially contaminated food. This could not be done while the store was open.”
Wei, the store president expressed his intention to work with health authorities with the investigation and to ensure the store will meet the health and safety standards.
Vancouver Coastal Health warned customers not to consume any produce or ready to eat foods made in house at the store.
我们鼓励所有读者在我们的文章和博客上分享意见。We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, and please keep your comments relevant and respectful. Visit the FAQ page for more information.