American Elephants

Happy Thanksgiving, and Are You Wearing Hairnets? by The Elephant's Child

Tee hee. Those who believe that government is good and more government probably better, need to really think, and try to make connections between events in the real world and their ideas about politics. There are examples all around us, and some are so interesting that they get published for the rest of us to read about.

— “The New York City Department of Health has been dispatching workers to storm-ravaged areas across the five boroughs as part of an outreach to ensure that volunteers are informed on proper food-handling and other safety issues. But the presence of health officials has caused some confusion as to where the city is drawing the line between advisement and enforcement.”

Bobby Eustace, an 11 year veteran with the NYC fire department said that on Sunday, he and his fellow firefighters from Ladder 27 in the Bronx were issued a notice of violation for not maintaining restaurant standards in a tent set up to feed victims and first responders at Breezy Point in Queens.

It’s just a little ridiculous. The inspector came up and asked if we were wearing hairnets. I told him “We have helmets. This is a disaster area.” Then he asked if we had gloves and thermometers for food. I said, “Yeah we have rectal and oral. Which one do you want ?” He wasn’t amused.

The Health Department worker then checked off a list of violations at the relief tent, including not having an HVAC system and fire extinguisher. (Ladder 27 doesn’t count?)

He told us that he might come back to see if we fixed the violations. But what can we do? We are just going to keep going until a professional catering company can help take over, Eustace said, adding that firefighters across the cit together have been contributing about $800 a day out of their own pockets to feeding victims in areas hit hard by Sandy.

A spokeswoman for the NYC Department of Health said it was just an outreach to inform volunteers on the proper way to handle food. We went out just to give recommendations. It was only an advisory role.

“Maybe that’s the intent, but that’s not what happened,” Eustace said. Personally, I was hoping we got one of those letter grade they give restaurants. We were hoping for an A letter grade.”


%d bloggers like this: