Health inspectors find critical violations at Boise Co-op

Health inspectors who visited the Boise Co-op’s main location in the North End on July 24 found three critical violations.

The violations, found in the deli and produce departments, came several weeks after a salmonella outbreak in which hundreds of reports were linked to the Co-op’s deli.

Boise Co-op employees corrected the July 24 violations while the inspector was still on site, according to inspection reports.

The inspector found meat items in the deli’s walk-in coolers that were out of date or undated. Employees threw away those items while the inspector was there.

The inspector also found improper temperatures in the deli salad bar. Chopped chicken, caprese salad and pasta with chicken were being held at the wrong temperatures, the report said, noting that a refrigeration technician was looking at the unit during the inspection.

In the Boise Co-op produce department, the inspector found that employees were using Orange Force degreaser and a peroxide multi-surface cleaner to clean and sanitize cutting boards and sinks. “Neither product is an approved sanitizer to use on food contact surfaces,” the inspector wrote.

The department stopped using the cleaners and started using “Quat sanitizer,” the report said.

The violations were due to “habits (we are) trying to break,” said Ben Kuzma, Boise Co-op general manager. For example, he said, employees had marked the deli meat items with their production date, instead of their expiration date.

Kuzma said the Boise Co-op is “taking it seriously and making sure that it doesn’t happen,” and that his job is to find out why violations are happening.

Kuzma also confirmed a couple of employees who tested positive for salmonella are still out of work, because they haven’t had two negative tests in a row.