Sushi Safety Focus of Board of Health Meeting


The Franklin Board of Health met in a hybrid form, via Google Hangouts and in person at the Municipal Building, on Wednesday afternoon.

Although several matters were discussed, the first matter was the shutdown of Shaw’s AFC sushi-making operation by John Robertson, Regional Health agent. He said it started as a routine visit to AFC [Advanced Fresh Concepts Franchise Corp. franchises over 4,000 independently owned and operated food service counter locations in retail establishments.]

“I had a conversation with the person in charge of making sushi. “I asked them to demonstrate how they test for pH,” because they must acidify rice to keep it safe, he said. “The worker began to take out some of the items used to test the pH and informed me she didn't have distilled water to do the test, but that she could get it inside of the store if I want it and I said yes, please go get it,” explained Robertson. She came back, began the setup the testing process, “and then informed me that they did not have a pH meter and that they she had been asking her supervisor for a long time for a pH meter,” he continued.

Robertson then asked her to explain what she meant by a long time and she said it was about three weeks.

But that was by no means the end. Despite not being able to test for that period of three weeks, entries continued to be made in a log asserting that tests were made; essentially falsifying a legal document, right up until the time that Robertson arrived.

That was the last straw for Robertson who contacted the director and made the decision to issue a cease and desist for Shaw’s sushi, including removing all the rice-containing products since there was no way to test it.

As a consequence of all that a representative of Shaw’s and one from AFC were present at the meeting, suitably chastened, and explained all they were doing or going to do to ensure the situation would not be repeated. With a specific commitment from Shaw’s to provide additional oversight of AFC, the Board agreed to allow the operation to reopen.

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