Ray’s Food Place in Sisters fared poorly in routine state food inspections, according to a report released by The Oregonian/Oregon Live last weekend.

The report listed the 21 stores that fared worst in state inspections, noting that the state does not proactively release that information, requiring a public records request to obtain reports.

“The information blackout on inspection results ends now,” the newspaper stated. “The Oregonian/OregonLive is doing what the State of Oregon has not, publishing the results of thousands of grocery store inspections online. Our searchable database highlights the most recent routine inspections by the Oregon Department of Agriculture at more than 1,100 stores across the state, from major national chains to small neighborhood markets. Records are shown for stores that have a retail license and handle or prepare raw food. You can also drill down into a store’s past inspections, including follow-ups and those prompted by complaints…”

The report can be found at www.oregonlive.com/health/2020/01/these-21-

oregon-grocery-stores-scored-the-worst-on-health-inspections.html.

Ray’s was ranked No. 13 among 21 stores, with 10 “high risk violations” and six “repeat issues.”

It is important to note that inspections capture a moment in time; some violations can be corrected on the spot.

In a written statement provided to The Nugget, C&K Market, Inc, the parent company of Ray’s Food Place said, “all violations were addressed as soon as we received notice of them. Our goal is to have zero food safety violations, and that’s the focus of our manager and employee training. When we receive a violation, we immediately retrain staff in the affected area and require managers to monitor the area to ensure procedures are being followed correctly. If the issue is a mechanical failure, we stop using that piece of equipment and make the repair as quickly as possible.”

Among the issues inspectors found in 2019 inspections were “apparent rodent droppings observed in the cabinet to the right of the refrigerated sandwich prep table in the grilling area.” There were reportedly no traps visible in the deli.

There were instances of food not being held cold or hot enough.

The report noted “heavy buildup of brown/black sludge-type material” inside fountain drink nozzles in the deli and “several items that were made or repackaged in deli didn’t list ingredients.” Additionally, the report stated, “bits of raw meat from a meat cuber machine were found on an adjacent machine used to slice cheese and vegetables for seafood salad.”

In one instance, an “employee used a metal stem-type thermometer to check the internal temperature on a whole body fryer, but inserted it into the chicken without first cleaning/sanitizing the thermometer as required.” In another, an “employee at produce dept. (was) observed dropping the trim knife on the ground, then picked it up and resumed using it to trim lettuce without washing the knife or washing hands.”

C&K Market’s statement noted: “We expect managers to check for compliance with food safety procedures, as well as do quarterly trainings to keep employees updated on safety practices. As part of our initiative to constantly improve, we are currently reviewing our policies and procedures relative to food safety and will train employees on any changes. In our Sisters store, we had some new employees who made errors and did not perform to our expectations. They received additional individual training and monitoring to ensure compliance. All employees in the affected area also received training.

“Store managers know the importance of following procedures,” the statement read. “It is important enough to us that it is factored into their performance reviews. We take food safety very seriously and work very diligently to ensure that our customers get wholesome products.”