Inspectors Find Hallway Kitchen At Phoenix Area Migrant Shelter

Published: Tuesday, July 20, 2021 - 3:10pm
Updated: Wednesday, July 21, 2021 - 9:51am
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A citizen’s concerns over food safety at a Phoenix area migrant shelter housed in an old school led to a visit this month from Maricopa County inspectors.

The facility operator agreed years ago to tell officials right away about any change to food service as it could require a permit.

The International Rescue Committee agreed with Maricopa County in 2019 that most foods needing time-and-temperature-control for safety would not be prepared, cooked or stored at the migrant shelter.

But county inspectors saw people making their own meals during a visit on July 2, and officials confirmed allegations that a hallway of the shelter was being used as a temporary kitchen.

KJZZ requested an interview with the International Rescue Committee. Network Communications Officer Stanford Prescott emailed a prepared statement.

“The health and safety of the people we serve is our top priority. A recent water leak in our kitchen and cafeteria prevented use of those rooms while repairs were ongoing. As a result, food service was temporarily moved to another part of the facility. This change in operations was necessary in order to ensure that families in need continued to have access to meals."

"All IRC staff who work at the Welcome Center complete food handling certification. The Welcome Center uses commercial grade food warming cabinets, fridges, and warmer tables to serve food. All prepared food is provided by our partners at Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul, and other certified commercial kitchens."

"The IRC has met with the County regarding the inspection and will take all necessary steps to comply with County regulations.”

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