If you're eating bread, especially crunchy grainy bread, you might want to put it down before reading on. I warned you!
A master baker in Queens alleges that he was fired over refusing to bake with flour that was full of insects. Stefan Fischer had an extensive background in the culinary arts, having studied baking in Germany and also having a thorough understanding of sanitary and safety practices in food handling.
The New York Post reports that Fischer started working at the Bakery of New York in Queens, a distribution center for baked goods, in February and was fired in July.
He claims that he first faced sanitary issues in the kitchen, with open garbage cans and flour and dirt encrusted on the floors, but his observations were ignored when brought to the owners. The 3,000-pound flour silo was evidently his last straw.
Upon discovering the insect problem in the silo, the New York Daily News reports that Fischer texted a picture of the contaminated flour and sent it to one of the owners, volunteering to clean out the silo and start from fresh flour. However, the response was to use the flour to bake crunchy multi-grain bread.
I hope you heeded my warning above, because I wouldn’t want to be eating crunchy multi-grain bread while reading this…
Anyway, Fischer refused this suggestion and was immediately fired. He felt that the reason he was told to use the flour to make this type of bread was “presumably because the insects would pass unnoticed if concealed in crunchy bread.”
As it happens, Fischer, who has 30 years of baking experience, lost a $75,000 salary as master baker and operations manager. Ouch. Not to mention he left California to relocate to New York to take this position.
Now, he’s pursuing a lawsuit looking to have his job reinstated (why would you want to work for them again?) and to be reimbursed for the $2,500 it cost him to make that move. So far, there hasn’t been a comment from the bakery owners yet.