5 On Your Side

Dough sitting outdoors not a huge health issue

Posted April 16, 2014
Updated April 17, 2014

— When Jim Barnhill saw stacks of pizza dough sitting uncovered outside a Brier Creek Papa John's, he wondered about the health issues that might raise.

When he saw the same thing again and again, he notified the restaurant. The first time, a manager said, "have it thrown away immediately." The second time, they told him they'd address the issue.

When it happened a third time, Barnhill brought his photos and video to 5 On Your Side.

He saw dough sitting outside in the rain. "It was sprinkling so the dough was getting hit by the raindrops," Barnhill said.

Then the exposed dough balls were placed in the back of an employee's car.

That didn't alleviate Barnhill's concern. "I know the back seat of my car has dog hair in it, regular hair. It's dusty. There's pollen and all sorts of stuff back there," Barnhill said.

A Papa John's manager told 5 On Your Side that everything they're doing is fine and called police. As three officers arrived at the restaurant, so did a county health inspector.

"That's a problem," said Thomas Jumalon, upon viewing Barnhill's video.

"Had this happened during an inspection, if that product had had any rainwater, anything like that, we would advise them to toss it," he said. 

Papa John's was told they need to keep food stored outside under cover.

Jumalon had some points of assurance for diners. 

He pointed out that pizza dough cooks at 500 degrees for 20 minutes – enough to kill just about anything that could be on it – and that food is exposed to the outdoors whenever you dine outside. He also said transporting food in a personal car is no different than using a company vehicle.

Jumalon said the situation would have earned Papa John's a sanitation deduction of just half a point if it had been discovered during an inspection.

A review of the inspections for the Papa John's in Brier Creek shows they scored a 96.5 in October and have scored in the 90s for years.


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  • Super Hans Apr 17, 2014

    From everything I've heard from pizza workers about the things they do to pizzas, pollen and bird poo is the last thing you need to worry about.

  • Kylie Marie Summerling Apr 17, 2014
    user avatar

    Still disgusting.

  • rduwxboy Apr 17, 2014

    "I doubt if papa john would agree with the manager." -Rougemontrednek

    Papa John probably has a seminar on how to save money just by doing this sort of thing. All he cares about is profit, not his employees, nor his customers. Cha Ching.

  • rougemontredneck Apr 17, 2014

    I doubt if papa john would agree with the manager. GROSS

  • 42_wral_mods_suck_i'm_gone Apr 17, 2014

    What you really need to worry about is what the underpaid workers do to your food when not on camera.

  • Mannin Black Apr 17, 2014
    user avatar

    Do you not see that the dough is covered! It is only uncovered while handling. You can see he picks up one layer and puts the cover right back on the stack! I don't like Papa John's anyways but I am not concerned by this either. People cook outdoors, eat outdoors. Is this different than a food truck? Outdoor grill? I think not.

  • notexactly Apr 17, 2014

    View quoted thread

    I get your point, but he is really correct. There really is no serious health risk here. Maybe not nice to think about, but not really a major concern. I would be more worried with improper meat handling more so than dough. But I probably would have said something too. I wouldn't eat at that store but I wouldn't say I would stop eating papa johns. I really don't like their pizza anyway. Mello mushroom is the best.

  • Obamacare returns again Apr 17, 2014

    Can you all imagine if the cicadas were all out flying around while this was going on? Yuck!

  • Thought Criminal WS Apr 17, 2014

    I worked in the food industry for years as well as a cook, kitchen manager, promoter, and franchiser. Things like that kill business whether or not they are unsanitory. Anyone who has seen the movie "waiting" knows it's extremely tame compared to the real industry. This is a good way to get a lot of people SICK. Anyone giving the guy grief for reporting it should stop and think, unwashed lettuce can kill with a little e-coli. Imagine those doughs going to a kids birthday party and now you have a dozen hospitalized kids. There's a reason why people undergo training for handling food. Shame most don't follow it.

  • Lee Freeze Apr 17, 2014
    user avatar

    to those of you saying you will not eat there again because he transported dough in his personal car, better stop eating papa johns AND dominos!! both companys have local warehouses in garner and can send their empolyees there tp pick up dough when they run short! if not from the warehouse local stores loan dough to other stores all the time and how do they transport it? in personal vehicles!! better start getting your pies from papa murphy's :)