Lebanese restaurants in the Canadian county of Windsor-Essex are up in arms on the blanket ban issued by the local health department against raw kibbeh:
Windsor-Essex County Health Unit inspectors are forcing Lebanese restaurants to take a popular traditional food off their menus because it is made with raw ground meat.
Kibbeh, a signature ground meat dish, has been served at Lebanese restaurants for years, but a report of contaminated raw kibbeh in Ottawa late last year has health inspectors taking a tougher stand. Restaurant owners say the sudden crackdown is costing them sales and upsetting longtime customers.
Restaurant owners however are not accepting the ban lightly:
“This is not a side dish. It’s our tradition,” [Mohammed] Nizam [owner of Al-Sabeel restaurant] said.
“It would have been nice to be invited and explained why it can’t be served. At the end of the day, I don’t want to cause any health hazard for customers.” [Imad] Najjar [owner of Mazaar] said.
Local regulations require ground meat to be cooked at an “internal temperature of 71C for at least 17 seconds” so it seems Lebanese restaurant owners will need to get creative with their dish.