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Catastrophe Catering

‘The Big Day’
Unless you’re a professional event planner, as D-Day approaches, the checklist of a catered event begins to look like the scratch pad of a mentally unbalanced, obsessive-compulsive disordered 4 year old with a fresh box of crayons. Is everything in order? Some of the basics to doing it yourself may include selecting a caterer. Have you:

  • Checked references?
  • Selected a menu that not only fits the affair, but also the needs or desires of the guests?
  • Are you budgeted correctly?
  • Did you inspect the caterer’s facility?
  • I’ll repeat: DID YOU INSPECT THE CATERER’S FACILITY!?
  • One area often overlooked when discussing an food safety is catering companies and their facilities. You’re not in a restaurant, but that doesn’t mean you should expect anything less than acceptable practices and approved facilities. If a licensed caterer is preparing the dishes for your event off-site, as most do, then they are required to operate in facilities that meet the statutes and regulations of the authority having jurisdiction, usually the local health department. This speaks nothing of the additional catering burdens of storage, transport and service of the menu of your catered event, as we’re just focusing on the facilities for this article.

    The next time you’re planning a catered event, insist to inspect the facility where the menu will be prepared. If they decline, you should be suspect. An alternative is to check out their health inspection reports. You can request them via a written request submitted to the local health department, or if your state has made the information publicly available via the internet, you can simply do a search via our Find Fetid Eats! page.

    To emphasize the need to inspect the catering facility yourself, here’s 3 Cases in point:

    Culinary Solutions
    1470 SW 8th Street
    Boynton Beach, FL 33426

    Florida Health Department Inspection Reports:
    6/14/2010 10 Critical Violations, 5 Non-Critical Violations
    6/14/2010* 13 Critical Violations, 8 Non-Critical Violations *Same date for some reason
    9/14/2010 11 Critical Violations, 6 Non-Critical Violations
    Fetid Note: I don’t think ‘Culinary Solutions’ is going to accept my FB friend request…

    NUTRITION, INC.
    2600 BRYANT PL SE Washington, DC 20020
    Ward: Ward 8 | Quad: SE
    Type: Caterer

    Fetid Note: The click on the address will direct you to DC’s inspections results page for Nutrition, Inc. There you can click on an individual report for the particulars.

    This one’s a special case. It just might segue into topics such as HACCP, Sous Vide, and Organics. Maybe I will later. For now, its just not a clean facility!!!
    ORGANIC TO GO
    2625 EVARTS ST NE Washington, DC 20018
    Ward: Ward 5 | Quad: NE
    Type: Caterer

    Fetid Note: The click on the address will direct you to DC’s inspections results page for Organics To Go. There you can click on an individual report for the particulars.

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