The cruise ship MSC Seaside failed its CDC's sanitation inspection on April 27, records show.
The vessel received a 67 out of 100 — the lowest score a cruise ship has received in five years.
The inspector reported a "crew member's hands and refrigerator door handle covered in hamburger blood."
The cruise ship MSC Seaside failed the CDC's vessel sanitation inspection at the end of April with an unusually low score.
The vessel received 67 out of 100 points, nearly twenty points below the agency's passing grade. In the past 10 years, only three other cruise ships have received sanitation scores below 70, CDC records show.
Since 2004, MSC Cruises have received an average sanitation score of 94.5. The MSC Meraviglia and MSC Seascape scored 98 and 100 points, respectively, during their recent February inspections.
Many of the inspector's concerns were related to food storage and preparation, including flies located in the bar, buffet, and garbage areas; a "black filth residue" coating four unopened containers of yogurt; dried food residue on dishes being used to serve hamburgers; "a shriveled piece of sausage and an old piece of pineapple" behind an oven; and chopped lettuce, sliced melon, and raw chicken stored at hazardous temperatures.
One of the more disturbing violations described in the report involved a crew member who was cooking raw hamburgers at a buffet station.
The employee walked through the kitchen with a trolley cart containing "left over hamburger paper wrappings and a layer of pooled hamburger blood" and went to the cold storage room to get more meat. The inspector then "intervened and observed the crew members hands and refrigerator door handle covered in hamburger blood," the report says.
An MSC Cruises spokesperson told Insider the cruise line has launched an internal investigation based on the inspector's concerns and took immediate corrective actions.
"MSC Cruises rigorously adheres to health protocols, and the results of this inspection do not reflect the brand's high standards," the spokesperson added.
Beyond food, the inspection also found several medical violations, according to the CDC. Five handwashing stations did not have soap (two of which were located in the medical ward) and the medical center did not document or follow-up on public vomit and diarrhea incidents recorded by housekeeping.
Additionally, medical staff misinterpreted the procedure for reporting acute gastroenteritis and only reported cases if passengers or crew experienced three episodes of diarrhea or vomit and an additional symptom.
However, the inspector "explained that even one diarrhea episode that is above normal to that individual can make them a reportable case" per the vessel sanitation program's operations manual.
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