Hot trucks investigated by health dept.

Wanda English Burnett

More than $5,000 worth of food headed to multiple restaurants was destroyed after police and health department officials worked together.

According to information from Holley Meador and Traci Bauman, environmental health specialists at the Ripley County Health Department, the food was being hauled in semi trailers that were not cooling properly or not at all.

Indiana State Police Trooper Chris Richey noted that two semis were stopped in the month of August that appeared to be overweight. They were carrying food/supplies to various Chinese restaurants.

Trooper Richey told the Osgood Journal that this is an issue every summer with companies hauling the food items repeatedly being found to be in violation of food temperature stipulations.

“They purposefully by-pass the scales and take other roads,” Trooper Richey said. The two recently stopped in Ripley County were on Highway 46 near Batesville and in Sunman near the Penntown exit.

On August 12 the truck that was stopped on Hwy 46 had no working reefer (unit that controls the truck’s refrigeration). They were in violation of the state’s Food Safety code according to Meador. She said Stapp Ranch out of Decatur County was contacted to dispose of the meat. They hauled away a 10 foot bed full of various items from clams to 13 boxes of pastry items.

According to the Retail Food Establishment inspection report, the clams were at 60 degrees and the chicken had reached 54 degrees. It was noted that the reefer (cooling unit) had not been working for two days.

The truck stopped on August 10 near Penntown had eight bags of frozen clams and other items that were thawing with the temperature reaching 51 degrees. This food was also disposed of. In both cases health department officials noted that the owner of the company was notified prior to disposal and informed. They verbally agreed to have the items disposed. A list of these items was sent to the company.

On the inspection report the company found in violation of transporting food in an unsafe manner on August 10 was Heng Hug Trading Inc. out of Cincinnati, OH. The August 12 violation was a company named H.H. Inc., out of Louisville, KY. Trooper Richey said they are one and the same company.

Thanks to a concerned citizen’s tip, police are on the look out for a particular route some trucks are taking as they try to avoid the main highways where they would be inspected at scale points.

Both environmental health specialists from Ripley County told the Osgood Journal it was a serious violation that police are monitoring closely. They will work in connection with other officials to try to keep these type of food items from reaching consumers locally. “I’d hate to think how much gets by us,” Trooper Richey concluded.