New York

In Defense of a Brooklyn Pizzaiolo


This week in Runnin’ Scared, Robert Sietsema chronicles DiFara’s run-in with the DOH, which is supposedly coming to an end on Friday. Sietsema raises some thoughtful questions about the methods used by health inspectors. He’s not talking about the alleged bribes they take, but the opportunities for vague signs of uncleanliness they search for, and the fact that no modern methods of bacteria testing are employed. Here’s our favorite part:

Among the Health Department’s complaints, which were addressed in a “tribunal” on June 8, was that Dom hadn’t remedied the complaints detailed in an earlier inspection, which resulted in a closure on March 23 this year. For one, neither he nor his staff were wearing plastic gloves, which the most recent inspection noted as if it were some dirty sex act: “food worker observed having bare hand contact with one slice(s) of pizza.”

Who cares? The pizza is baked at 550 degrees, a temperature that kills any bacteria you can test for. Anyway, the inspectors whom the department calls sanitarians don’t really test for bacteria. There can be salmonella jumping on your organic leaf spinach, and they won’t be able to tell.

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