Friday, February 20, 2009

Courtny Gerrish and TMJ4 "Dirty Dining"

This week, Courtny Gerrish targeted an Oconomowoc restaurant for her "Dirty Dining" feature on TMJ4.

Just after midnight, I saw that the segment on
Fong's Garden was already posted on the TMJ4 web page, along with video.

(Note: TMJ4 did NOT return its December 11, 2008, "Dirty Dining" report about the Brookfield Perkins to the web page. It's been over two months since the story was posted and then removed. It's been about a month and half since TMJ4 said it was putting the Perkins story back.)

The violations at Fong's Garden were like those found at many of the other restaurants featured by Gerrish -- food kept at the wrong temperature, residue on surfaces and in containers, poor hand-washing by employees, and no soap.

Fong's Garden also had a cross-contamination risk because "bowls used to scoop dry good[s] were being left in the food." The restaurant was ordered to use scoops with handles.

That reminds me of a violation at the Brookfield Perkins.

Children's drink cups used as scoops, sitting in food. Perkins was ordered to use a scoop with a handle, so employees don't put their hands in the food.

Yes, that's very similar to the use of bowls as scoops at Fong's Garden.

I'd provide a link to the TMJ4 story on Perkins if I could, but as I said, TMJ4 pulled the story off its website.

More information on that here, plus links to all previous posts on the matter.

There was something interesting about the February 19 "Dirty Dining" installment.

Fong's Garden on Main Street in Oconomowoc. It's an "all you can eat" buffet. One couple claims the egg rolls made them sick. When inspectors went in, they found egg rolls sitting out at room temperature.

...The health department never positively linked the egg rolls to the customer's illness. The restaurant had no comment about the complaint.

Did this couple contact Courtny Gerrish or someone at TMJ4 about conditions at the restaurant and the egg rolls they believe made them sick?

Did the couple directly contact health inspectors?

Did TMJ4 contact health inspectors after being tipped off by the couple?

I'd be surprised if the couple contacted TMJ4 and then they received a response from the station.

That would be very uncharacteristic of TMJ4 personnel.

I know that Courtny Gerrish doesn't respond to e-mail posing legitimate questions in a respectful manner, at least not when the e-mail is about the Brookfield Perkins story.

TMJ4 GM Steve Wexler doesn't respond on that topic either.

To be fair, Brenda Serio, programming, did reply once to me. However, her message about the news assigment desk working on putting the deleted Brookfield Perkins story back on the "Dirty Dining" web page was completely false.

In any event, the couple are probably pleased that the health violations at Fong's Garden were highlighted on the TMJ4 newscast and are linked on its website. It's a warning to others.

Too bad TMJ4 doesn't see fit to inform the public on the violations it reported on at the Brookfield Perkins.

Too bad Courtny Gerrish and Steve Wexler don't answer their e-mail. That's bad public relations.

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