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Kelowna  

Food infractions not serious

The director of health protection in the Central Okanagan says infractions levied against Valoroso Foods during an inspection last week were not deemed serious.

In an interview with Castanet News, Roger Parsonage of Interior Health says while the inspection, prompted by news reports of potential food tampering, found almost a dozen infractions, they were not serious enough to require a fine or closure.

"In this case, the inspector formed the opinion that a reasonable response to what he was seeing was to document, require correction, then go back in about a week to see it was done," says Parsonage.

"We always have a range of options available to us to gain compliance and it is our philosophy to choose the option that is the least intrusive but will give us the outcome we are looking for."

Parsonage says most 'low risk' operations such as Valoroso Foods are on a one-year inspection cycle, with the last inspection in December of 2013, it was timely to re-visit the operation.

He adds it's important to take everything in the report in context.

One of the infractions in the report centred around food not fit for human consumption being on the premises.

"What we found was the operator had identified some food they intended to discard and they were storing it beside other food that was intended to be sold for human consumption," says Parsonage.

"We were concerned about the potential for a mix up between those two. We asked that ideally, a separate area be designated for food they intend to discard, totally separate so there could be no confusion."

Interior Health is expected to re-visit Valoroso Foods later this week.

Last week, former employees of the company came forward to say they had been instructed to alter best before dates and expiry dates.

Parsonage says Interior Health did not investigate labelling.

"We don't have any legislative authority related to food packaging or best before dates," says Parsonage.

"Those issues fall under the jurisdiction of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Our area of authority, with respect to the food itself, is to ensure it is safe and fit for human consumption."

He says best before dates are usually related to food quality and not food safety.

"Our authority is related to food safety."

Valoroso Foods on Sutherland Avenue re-opened Tuesday morning.

Parsonage added the Valoroso Foods outlet in West Kelowna was not part of the inspection process.

He said that operation passed inspection a month ago.

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