Sunday, August 19, 2018
Politics

Health inspectors ding kitchen at Trump's Mar-a-Lago club

Just days before the state visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump's Palm Beach private club, Florida restaurant inspectors found potentially dangerous raw fish and cited the club for storing food in two broken down coolers.

Inspectors found 13 violations at the fancy club's kitchen, according to recently published reports — a record for an institution that charges $200,000 in initiation fees.

Three of the violations were deemed "high priority," meaning that they could allow the presence of illness-causing bacteria on plates served in the dining room.

According to their latest visit to the club Jan. 26, state inspectors decided Mar-a-Lago's kitchen did meet the minimum standards.

But they had a field day with elements that could give members of the high-class club and foreign dignitaries some pause:

▪ Fish designed to be served raw or undercooked, the inspection report reads, had not undergone proper parasite destruction. Kitchen staffers were ordered to cook the fish immediately or throw it out.

▪ In two of the club's coolers, inspectors found that raw meats that should be stored at 41 degrees were much too warm and potentially dangerous: chicken was 49 degrees, duck clocked in a 50 degrees and raw beef was 50 degrees. The winner? Ham at 57 degrees.

▪ The club was cited for not maintaining the coolers in proper working order and was ordered to have them emptied immediately and repaired.

The other violations weren't so serious. Water at the sink where employees wash their hands was too cold to sanitize hands. And Mar-a-Lago was also written up for keeping rusted shelves inside walk-in coolers.

In the past, Trump, who has spent most weekends at the club so far this year and hosted Chinese leader Xi Jinping there last weekend, was often involved personally in the day-to-day operations.

It wasn't rare to see him check out the kitchen and give directions to the club's floor personnel.

At the time, Mar-a-Lago passed inspections with flying colors, with one or two violations at most.

But as Trump jumped into presidential politics, so did the number of health violations.

There were 11 last year compared to just two in 2015.

Mar-a-Lago General Manager Bernd Lembcke did not return calls for comment.

Trump is making his seventh presidential trip this weekend to the resort.

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