The ‘Dill is in a pickle.
The Condill Hotel in Fort St. John, along with the Chevron in Tumbler Ridge, were both given a "very high" hazard rating after inspections by Northern Health in 2014.
A report from an inspection in August of last year pointed to two critical violations of the health code at the Condill Hotel, the iconic 72-year-old Fort St. John bar on 100th Ave. One was for inadequate cooling and refrigerated storage of potentially hazardous food, while the other was for improper cleaning and sanitizing of equipment and utensils.
Both establishments told Alaska Highway News that the violations have been corrected, though no follow-up inspections have been done since according to the Northern Health website.
“Everything has been corrected,” said Elaine Budnick, one of the owners. “We correct everything as soon as we get it."
This isn’t the first time the Condill Hotel has received a bad grade. In 2013 it was written up for inadequate cooling as well. A follow-up inspection was done several days later and the restaurant passed.
Along with the two critical violations in the most recent report, there are also three non-critical issues including general sanitation.
Inspections are done at least once a year, and as many as four times per year.
The report for the Tumbler Ridge Chevron from Sept. 30 listed other issues. The two critical problems were that food was being stored in garbage bags — which are not food grade — and improper cleaning of equipment and utensils.
Gary Sidhu, the Chevron’s manager, said he corrected the issues immediately.
“The next inspection would be as normal,” he said. “It’s not a problem any more. We sell food every day and night; it was just one inspection that went bad and we corrected our practices.”
He added that they had not received any complaints from anyone in town, including from the community hospital, about people getting sick from eating there.
This was the first time the establishment received a high hazard rating from Northern Health.
Doug Quibell is the manager of environmental health for Northern Health, the branch of the authority that is concerned with anything in the environment that can impact the health and wellbeing of the community.
He said that just because a restaurant has a high rating, that doesn’t mean someone who eats there will necessarily get sick, it just means that they’re more likely to than if they were to eat at an establishment that’s low risk.
He said that when inspectors go into a restaurant to do an inspection, they look at a number of things, such as how well the place has done in the past and if they had received any complaints from the public.
“Some things they can just fix right there and then . . . but if it’s something more significant, then that would carry more weight and add to the risk that eating at that restaurant represents,” he said.
Although Quibell wasn’t familiar with the specifics of these two restaurants, he did comment that if an issue is still listed as outstanding from an inspection done in August, as with the Condill, there are probably complications.
Budnick on the other hand said that there were no such complications, and was confident that the next time the facility was inspected it would pass.
“If we felt that there was an immediate risk to the public, we could close it immediately,” said Quibell. “Very, very seldom does something like that happen.”
He encouraged the public to check the health ratings that are publicly available on their website.