President Donald Trump may be using his office to draw attention to Mar-a-Lago, in what ethics experts describe as a conflict of interest, but that doesn't mean he cares that much about making sure the food at his luxury resort is in tip-top shape.
Florida health inspectors discovered 13 health violations at the president's resort prior to a visit from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last month, according to a report by the Miami Herald. The paper said that is a record for the private club that recently doubled admission fees to $200,000. (The Associated Press cited as many as 15 violations on Trump's property. There were 16 combined violations found at Mar-a-Lago and the Beach Club at Mar-a-Lago, according to the Miami New Times.)
Even more troubling, three of those violations were labeled as "high priority," which means that they could lead to the growth of bacteria that would make patrons who consumed the food seriously ill.
One of the violations discovered was the fact that fish that was meant to be served either raw or undercooked had not had adequate parasite destruction. In addition, chicken was stored at 49 degrees, duck and raw beef at 50 degrees, and ham at 57 degrees, even though raw meats are supposed to be stored at 41 degrees. Plus, the coolers themselves were found to not be in proper working condition.
While these were the most serious violations, the less serious ones included allowing employees to wash their hands in water that was too cold and having rusted shelves inside walk-in coolers.
Ironically, when Trump has been criticized in the past for his preference for fast food, he has defended it on the grounds that it is healthier because the ingredients are cleaner.
As he once told CNN's Anderson Cooper, "One bad hamburger, you can destroy McDonald’s. One bad hamburger, you take Wendy’s and all these other places and they’re out of business. I’m a very clean person. I like cleanliness, and I think you’re better off going there than maybe someplace that you have no idea where the food’s coming from. It’s a certain standard."
It's particularly notable that the number of health violations at Mar-a-Lago has increased significantly since Trump's political career took off. While there were only two violations in 2015, the number increased to 11 in 2016.