20 violations at H Mart-Melrose Park Har in Elkins Park; baterica growth risk-Commercially vacuum sealed fish observed thawing in bag while still under vacuum seal

20 violations at H Mart-Melrose Park Har in Elkins Park; baterica growth risk-Commercially vacuum sealed fish observed thawing in bag while still under vacuum seal

Elkins Park, PA

H Mart – Melrose Park Har

7320 OLD YORK RD UNIT 219
ELKINS PARK, PA 19027

The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services Office of Public Health (MCOPH) conducted an unannounced retail food inspection on 8/17/2020. As a result of that inspection, and due to the severity of the specific violations the H Mart – Melrose Park Har was cited as being, “Out of Compliance” with Pennsylvania’s food safety regulations. During this inspection a total of 20 violations were found and include one or more violations determined to be food borne illness risk factors.

The inspector made the following comments in support of the violations found during the inspection:

  • Employee beverage containers found stored on food prep surfaces and in refrigeration units throughout facility.

  • Hand wash sink basin in seafood prep area observed blocked by trash bags and a water jug.

  • Cooked fish cakes and cooked eel found stored outside of temperature control at sushi station with internal temperatures of 50F and 52F. Sushi employee had left for the day and was no longer preparing food items. Facility voluntarily discarded items during inspection.

  • Cooked eggs for sushi at sushi station observed with prep dates only. A discard date not to exceed 7 days from the prep date is needed on foods held under refrigeration longer than 24 hours in facility. Facility emailed date marking regulations during inspection.

  • (2 times repeat violation)Prepackaged foods held with out temperature control and marked only with preparation time in retail area. Must include time removed from temperature control and discard time not to exceed 4 hours. Foods found to be left outside of temperature control longer than 4 hours. Facility voluntarily discarded foods. Failure to correct and maintain multiple repeat violations may result in legal actions.

  • Facility could not locate current daily sushi rice pH log at time of inspection. Logs could only be located for June 2020.

  • Sushi rice pH tested at 4.7 at time of inspection. Facility voluntarily discarded all sushi made with this batch of rice and must make new batch of rice with a pH of 4.2 or below.

  • Commercially vacuum sealed fish observed thawing in bag while still under vacuum seal. Facility voluntarily discarded two bags of fish during inspection.

  • Seafood walk-in refrigerator lacking ambient thermometer.

  • Self-service frozen fish and meat cake balls in retail area lacking a dedicated serving utensil for each food item in freezer. Handle of provided serving utensil observed resting in food products.

  • Many foods throughout facility observed lined with absorbent paper towels.

  • Self-service frozen fish and meat cake balls in retail area are a raw food product and cannot be sold as a self service food item if they are uncooked. Facility must cease self service of any raw food items in retail area.

  • Ice scoop stored inside ice machine in seafood area.

  • Scoop lacking a handle found stored in rice in hot foods prep room.

  • Reach down freezer in retail seafood area observed with separators made with styrofoam, tinfoil, and saran wrap.

  • Door to shaved ice machine in seafood area observed repaired with duct tape and door gasket torn.

  • Floors throughout seafood prep and storage areas observed with water accumulation.

  • Cardboard observed lining floor of sushi prep area.

  • Cove base tile to left of sushi prep refrigerator observed damaged.

  • (2 times repeat violation) Floor tiles missing under sushi area food prep sink allowing for water to pool. Failure to correct and maintain multiple repeat violations may result in legal actions.

When food is vacuum packed, air is sucked out of the packaging and then the packaging is hermetically sealed. Fish packaged this way are very popular in grocery stores, it’s important to handle the fish correctly. Clostridium botulinum and Listeria monocytogenes are the bacteria of primary concern when thawing vacuum packed fish. The fish should be kept frozen until time of use and prior to the fish being thawed under refrigeration or prior to or immediately upon completion of thawing, the fish should be removed from the packaging. By opening the packaging when thawing the vacuum packaged fish, oxygen is present and the spores will not produce the vegetative cells that produce the toxin.

For more information visit the link below from Michigan State University:

https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/open_your_vacuum_packed_fish_before_thawing