DEC weighs in on Fairbanks Espresso controversy

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation’s Food Safety and Sanitation program has looked into an incident at a Fairbanks coffee shop and determined that the incident did not pose an imminent health hazard and considers the matter closed.

Fairbanks Espresso became the subject of controversy after the owner wrote a message to a man wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat that he was not welcomed at the establishment. (Sara Tewksbury/KTVF)

On Monday, the owner of Fairbanks Espresso wrote on the inside of a burrito wrapper to a customer who was wearing a "Make America Great Again” or "MAGA" hat and had a sign in his truck. The ink bled off the wrapper and onto the burrito. The owner, Caitlin Gonzalez, wrote, "I saw your MAGA hat and sign. #blacklivesmatter. Don't come here again." The incident was the subject of much discussion on social media.

Laura Achee, information officer for the DEC, said in an email to KXDF that the DEC was made aware of the incident and DEC staff contacted the owner of Fairbanks Espresso regarding the incident.

“The owner stated that she did not realize that the ink would transfer to the food when she wrote on the foil wrapper. DEC discussed best practices for sanitation, and confirmed that the owner is now aware that using marker to write on the inside of a foil wrapper may cause it to transfer to food. DEC has not received any other credible complaints regarding Fairbanks Espresso, and considers the matter concluded,” Achee wrote in the email.

She said that they confirmed that the type of marker used was AP-certified non-toxic. Achee also said that in situations like this, “where there is no imminent health hazard, DEC’s approach is to begin with education and only move on to progressive enforcement if it is needed due to continued non-compliance with food safety standards.”

She also encouraged any Alaskans with concerns regarding any food service to submit information through the DEC’s website

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