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Red faces afloat as luxury cruise liner fails sanitary check

July 29, 2013 Cruise, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Silversea Cruises is boosting crew training and making other changes after failing a  surprise inspection by the US-based Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

The line’s embarrassment was acute because the ship concerned, Silver Shadow, is one of the most luxurious in the world, catering for a very upmarket clientele.

According to a report by the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program, cited by CNN, Silver Shadow was slammed for making an “organized effort” to get 15 trolleys of food out of the ship’s galley to they could be stowed in crew cabins to avoid inspection.Silver Shadow

CNN quoted a pastry chef aboard the vessel saying his superiors had ordered him and other crew members to sleep with food inside their cabins – including a trolley full of salami and unrefrigerated blue cheese. The informant said food was hidden night after night to avoid health inspections.

The CDC, which has the right to make snap inspections, pounced on the 382-passegner Silver Shadow in June while the vessel was in Skagway, Alaska. The raid followed a tip from an anonymous crewmember, who reportedly sent photos to the CDC showing meat in crew cabin sinks and trays of food in corridors outside the cabins.

This resulted in a failing grade of 82 for Silver Shadow. Any grade lower than 84 is considered “less than satisfactory”, according to the CDC website.

In a statement after the news emerged, Silversea chief executive Enzo Visone said the findings had “given the company great cause for concern”.

“At Silversea Cruises we pride ourselves on providing the best quality services to our guests,” Visone said in an issued statement carried by USA Today.

sarawak250x250“Since the preliminary report was given to us, a full investigation has been carried out into the circumstances which led to this unsatisfactory result and a number of steps have been taken to ensure that the standards of food hygiene, in particular, are of the highest order. The other issues contained in the report have been rigorously dealt with as well.”

Visone said all food handlers and supervisors, butlers, cooks, waiters and bar staff were being given extra training which would ensure no food or food equipment was ever permitted in cabins or non-designated areas.

Visone said the line had now introduced an anonymous call system allowing any member of staff to report any failings to senior managers without fear of reprisal.

The Silversea statement said CDC inspectors arrived at the end of breakfast, when “pots, pans and utensils were on working stations and items to return to the galleys were on trolleys as were stores from the fridges ready for use. It is clear that when the galley staff heard that inspectors were on board, instead of continuing their work in the understanding that they were in the middle of a meal service, they tried to quickly remove all trolleys and any items not in the fridges and place them in cabins out of the way. It goes without saying that such practices are against company policy and should not have happened.”

Visone said that the line would have the opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to sanitation and hygiene when the CDC made a follow-up inspection in late August.

Written by Peter Needham

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