August 7 roundup

  • “We got nailed once because someone barehanded a bag of lettuce without a glove.” Kitchen-eye tales of NYC’s restaurant inspection regime [Saxon Baird, NY Eater]
  • Positive reviews for new HUD regs on housing discrimination, affordability, and supply [National Review: Roger Clegg; Salim Furth]
  • Sony isn’t making its robot companion dog available in Illinois because its facial recognition features fall under the state’s onerous Biometric Information Privacy Act; an earlier in-state casualty was Google’s “which museum portrait is your selfie like?” service [Megan Wollerton, CNet, earlier here and here] Is there any hope of slowing down the rush of class action suits filed under the law? [Chris Burt, Biometric Update]
  • Victory on a-peel: “3rd Circuit rules maker of banana costume is entitled to ‘fruits of its intellectual labor'” [ABA Journal, earlier here, etc.]
  • D.C. Circuit “Rips ‘Legal Artifice’ in Kasowitz Firm’s Megabillions Whistleblower Case” [Dan Packel, The American Lawyer; Cory Andrews, WLF]
  • Congress passes a law framed as pro-veteran, doesn’t take the time to spell out quite how it works, years later we meet the (presumably unintended) losers in the form of nonprofits that employ blind and deaf workers [Julie Havlak, Carolina Journal, quotes me]

One Comment

  • From the Eater article:

    ”The cleaner the restaurant, where there aren’t a lot of issues, that’s when the small violations like unwrapped straws come out,” says Kanev. “There’s been so many times I’ve seen a place marked down for things that other inspectors didn’t care about. It’s always when they haven’t found any violations in the kitchen or elsewhere. It’s like they can’t give us nothing and are just looking for something to mark off.”

    The Department of Health denies these allegations. In an email to Eater, DOH officials noted that inspectors adhere strictly to what’s in the health code, and added that the inspections are ultimately for the betterment of the establishments themselves.

    From my experience with auditors (frequent, though not in food service), I am disinclined to believe the DOH position. Auditors have to find something. It looks bad to their superiors if they don’t, and the gray areas are exactly where inconsequential but still articulable findings can be submitted. Essentially, if everything else is perfect, you should expect a few of the eye-rolling findings like “stir straws were unwrapped,” because otherwise the auditor looks like they weren’t actually trying. The guidance, both internal and from the external consultants we hire to assist with audits, boils down to, “yes, it may be trivial, but just fix it, show that you fixed it, and move on.”

    Of course, working for a major multi-national corporation, this compliance effort is easily absorbed, whereas a corner deli might have issues. A disparity frequently discussed on OL, and indeed in that very Eater article.