Inspection finds issues with food on cruise ship in Southeast

JUNEAU — An unannounced federal inspection found unsatisfactory conditions aboard a cruise ship that has spent considerable time in Alaska waters this season.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the Silver Shadow a score of 82 during the June 17 inspection. Scores of 85 or lower are considered unsatisfactory. A port schedule shows the vessel was in Skagway that day.

The inspection, among other things, found an organized effort to remove more than 15 trolleys of food and spices, including milk, eggs and raw meat, to individual cabins shared by crew members to avoid inspection.

Out-of-temperature, potentially hazardous food was discarded, and the lead inspector poured chlorine over it to ensure it wouldn’t be used again, the inspection states.

Among the other alleged violations, the inspection found food equipment and food stored on the deck, on and under beds in crew cabins, and no sign advising users of toilet facilities to use a paper towel or tissue to open the door.

Bernadette Burden, a CDC spokeswoman, said Friday that many of the alleged violations were corrected on the spot. The vessel was allowed to continue on.

Enzo Visone, CEO of Silversea Cruises, said in a statement that the inspection and unusually low score had given the company cause for concern.

Statistics from CDC’s Vessel
Sanitation Program show the ship had posted scores as high as 99 out of 100 five times since 2002 and otherwise in the 90s during that time.

“At Silversea Cruises we pride ourselves on providing the best quality services to our guests,” Visone said.

Since the inspection, there’s been an investigation and steps taken “to ensure that the standards of food hygiene, in particular, are of the highest order,” he said. “The other issues contained in the report have been rigorously dealt with as well.”

An outside sanitation consultant has been brought on board and cruise line managers have been working on every aspect of the report to ensure compliance, he said. Additional training also has been provided to staff, including food handlers and supervisors, he said.

Visone said the inspection of the trolleys took place at the end of breakfast.

“It is clear that when the galley staff heard that inspectors were on board, instead of continuing their work in the understanding that they were in the middle of a meal service, they tried to quickly remove all trolleys and any items not in the fridges and place them in cabins out of the way. It goes without saying that such practices are against company policy and should not have happened,” he said.

“Under no circumstances was improperly stored food served to any guests,” he said.

The company also said a zero-tolerance policy has been instituted concerning improper food handling. Individuals responsible for the situation are longer with the company, Silversea said. Their names and titles were not disclosed.

“In addition, we realize that Silversea management has to take its share of a responsibility and ensure that this does not happen again,” the company said.

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