State Officials Flag Fish-Packaging Method at Local Restaurant


State officials last week flagged a restaurant group with a New Canaan location for packaging fish in a way that’s disallowed under Connecticut public health regulations.

According to an epidemiologist in the Connecticut Department of Public Health’s Food Protection Program, a complaint led officials to the discovery that eight restaurants were using a vacuum packer for “reduced oxygen packaging” of fresh fish.

Officials in the Westport Weston Health District found that a food service establishment “was receiving large pieces of tuna, cleaning and cutting it into individual portions and then placing in refrigeration,” Matthew Payne of the DPH wrote in a Nov. 13 email to a number of municipal health officials including in New Canaan.

“The ownership of this business also owns or operates a location in each of your towns. This practice is not approved by Connecticut regulations and the Food Protection Program wanted to make sure that you are aware of this practice so you can conduct appropriate follow-up and enforcement as you see fit.”

The following day, Nov. 14, a sanitarian in the New Canaan Health Department inspected Cava Restaurant and Wine Bar on Forest Street and found that a vacuum sealer was on the bottom shelf of a prep table in the kitchen.

“No vacuum packaging allowed per Public Health Code,” the sanitarian’s notes said, adding, “No vacuum packaged fish observed in the facility.”

Cava had aced an unannounced local health inspection on Nov. 5, scoring 95 points out of a possible 100.

According to Payne, the other food service establishments in question are 55 Bar (Fairfield), Harvest Restaurant (Greenwich, New Haven, West Hartford), Scena (Darien) and South Bay (Greenwich and New Haven).

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