KELOWNA - Valoroso Foods was open for business today even as officials from the health protection branch of the Interior Health Authority say they will be conducting a second inspection to ensure the company has taken action on violations it found during an inspection last Friday.
“We will be going back at the end of the week to verify these items are being corrected,” said Roger Parsonage, director of health protection.
Health authority inspectors found 10 violations of the B.C. Health Act and Food Premises Regulations at Valoroso’s headquarters and primary retail location on Sutherland Ave., although none of them are in regard to the original allegations of product label tampering made by an ex-employee.
Best before and expiry dates are dealt with by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The health authority shared information from Friday’s inspection with the agency, Parsonage said.
“We don’t have legislation that we enforce with respect to best before dates,” said Parsonage. “When we look at food, we’re looking to see if it’s fit for human consumption. Our interest in labelling is only to verifty the place of origin."
Parsonage said there was no indication of that kind of violation.
The CFIA has yet to release its own findings into Friday’s inspection and the details of four previous mislabelling complaints made against the company since 2011. A CFIA spokesperson said in an email the details would be released soon.
Amongst the violations noted were improper food storage, failure to protect food from contamination and some food that was unfit for human consumption, but Parsonage said none of the violations warranted closing the place down.
“We have the authority to close a place on the spot and sometimes we do it,” Parsonage said. “But that’s a fairly serious action that we reserve for imminent risk to the public health that cannot be remedied any other way.”
Parsonage said Valoroso Foods “does not stand out as being of a particular concern,” as to the extent of its violations or its operator history.
“We have a range of enforcement tools we can use based on the risk to public health and operator history,” he said. “The environmental officer who conducted the inspection felt the action taken was appropriate."
He added that violations had been found during previous inspections of Valoroso’s Richter St. warehouse and West Kelowna location, although neither one of those premises were inspected on Friday.
The West Kelowna retail location was last inspected Feb. 23, this year while the warehouse was inspected Dec. 19, 2014.
Parsonage said his department made the inspection on Friday because of media interest in the story but said it was also due for an inspection anyway. The Sutherland store was last inspected in Dec. 2014.
Company president Joe Valoroso has apologized for what he termed as problems with inventory, first revealed Thursday in a report by Global Okanagan. The company shut the main store Friday and spent the weekend discarding outdated food and updating inventory from all three locations, Valoroso said.
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