I am compelled to write, responding to the article "Queasy Eats" (May 12). Healthy food service and accountability are important and appropriate topics.
At first, I was shocked to see our restaurant named in the article. Since then, my fellow employees of Seascape Restaurant at the pier in Trinidad have been discussing with me what was the most troubling part of the article. Was it:
... the timing of the article, right after Mother's Day and when all HSU students' families were pondering where to celebrate?
... the lack of follow-up in the article? I spoke with another long-time employee who was present at the inspection where our minor violation was noted. No mold was ever in contact with our ice supply and was visible in our ice machine only by crouching, neck-craning and with a flashlight. It was the size of a grain of rice, removed immediately and is [the spot] is now part of our regular cleaning regimen. I wonder if this problem should have earned our establishment's place in the sidebar that amounts to a list of where not to eat?
... the lack of verification? Many of our vendors, who regularly walk through Humboldt County restaurants' back doors, remark how clean our place is. Our health inspections have never contained major violations. We strive for perfection, but we are only human.
Actually, I feel the most disturbing part of the piece is the implication that our violation was a chronic and/or severe problem. That is not true.
In the words of Inspector Ray Smith, from the Official Inspection Report dated 12/2/10 (source document for the article posted online by the story's authors), "#33 Minor mold observed in ice machine. Clean and sanitize on a regular basis .... Facility is clean and well organized. All temperatures are correct. Food safety knowledge is excellent. Thank you!!"
PS: Please forward this letter to your beginning journalists. With power comes responsibility.
Mareva Russo, Trinidad
24-year employee, Seascape Restaurant