Dough sitting outdoors not a huge health issue
Posted April 16
Updated April 17
Raleigh, N.C. — 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.