No. 246, empire builder Ford Fry's casual Italian restaurant in Decatur, recently failed a health inspection in large part because of its use of a Cryovac with dry-cured meats. The restaurant received a score of 54 before passing with a 92 on re-inspection.
Laura Berrios first reported the failed inspection for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
An upstairs attic area at 129 E. Ponce De Leon Ave. was set up for meat curing inside a cooler, and packaging meats and vegetables with a Cryovac. The area also housed heating and air conditioning units for the facility, and the inspector observed rodent droppings on the floor while conducting the routine health inspection.
The restaurant needs approval from the health department before using the Cryovac, the inspector said. The meats were discarded.
The team at No. 246 feels that the restaurant is being made as an example because kitchens often operate Cryovacs and other similar machines that seal foods in air-tight packaging, without specific approval from the health department. No. 246 passed its follow-up inspection after presenting a plan for preserving meats to the board.
Fry, who also owns JCT. Kitchen & Bar, King + Duke, St. Cecilia, The Optimist, and forthcoming The El Felix, said in a statement to Eater Atlanta that health departments are simply trying to keep up with new techniques.
"I believe as chefs, we are all driven by how do we serve the freshest food and how do we use 'technique' to create the best tasting food," Fry said. "The health departments are trying to keep up with technical strides and in turn are just being cautious as they don't know what we do with Cryovacs the dry curing process, even if it is under proper temperatures and not cross contaminating."