Critical violations of state sanitation and safety laws recently observed by inspectors at five South Florida restaurants prompted the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation to cite the owners and briefly suspend operations.
Hooters, 8695 N.W. 13th Terrace, Miami was briefly closed May 30 after an inspector observed shellfish tags were not maintained in chronological order according to the last date they were served in the establishment; raw animal food was stored over ready-to-eat food; food was stored on the floor and outside and in a room/shed that was not fully enclosed; a case/container/bag of food was stored on the kitchen floor and on the floor in a walk-in cooler/freezer; an employee began working with food, handling clean equipment or utensils or touching unwrapped, single service items without first washing hands; cutting boards were stained/soiled; there was soil residue in food storage containers and soil residue buildup on a non-food contact surface; there was a buildup of food debris, dust or dirt on a non-food contact surface; shelves in a cooler and freezer were soiled with encrusted food debris; there was food debris/soil residue on a hand washing sink and a pipe at a hand washing sink was leaking.
Also, an employee rinsed utensils in a hand washing sink; the dumpster lid was open and garbage was on the ground and/or pad; there were live, small flying insects in the food preparation and bar areas; there were dead roaches on the premises and more than 45 live roaches found, including near the dishwasher, kitchen, central cook line and outside bar; more than 15 semi-fresh rodent droppings inside a kitchen storage area; a wall in the dishwashing area was soiled with accumulated black debris; there were live flies in the kitchen and there was no certified food manager on duty.
The business was allowed to reopen the same day. A company spokesperson could not be reached for comment.
Kennedy Café, 924-A Kennedy Dr., Key West, FL was briefly closed May 29 after an inspector observed potentially hazardous food held at improper temperatures for six hours; ready-to-eat, potentially hazardous food was prepared on site, held more than 24 hours and not properly date-marked; a gallon of milk was held more than 24 hours and not properly date-marked after opening; cold holding equipment was incapable of maintaining potentially hazardous food at proper temperatures; no metal stem-type thermometer was provided; crab was thawed in standing water; eggs were stored over bacon in a holding unit; onions and potatoes were stored on the floor; uncovered croutons were stored near a sink and exposed to splash; an unprotected ice machine was in a customer/non-secured area next to bathrooms; in use tongs were stored on an oven door handle between uses; a cutting board was no longer cleanable; there was an accumulation of debris on drain boards or equivalent and the exterior of the ware washing machine; an incorrect chemical test kit was provided to measure the concentration of sanitizer solution used in the dish machine/glass washer/pot washer, which was not washing/rinsing properly.
Also, a wet wiping cloth was not stored in sanitizing solution between uses; the interior of a cooler was soiled with accumulated food residue and had soiled gaskets; a case of spoons and cups was stored on the floor; soda and coffee machine drains were installed improperly; the dumpster lid was open; dead roaches were around kitchen shelves; 7 dry rodent droppings were found on top of the dishwasher; 20 to 30 live roaches were found near a kitchen hand washing sink; grease was accumulated under cooking equipment; food debris was on the kitchen floor; there was a buildup of soil/debris on the floor along the walls, baseboards, cabinets and/or equipment and lights in the food prep, storage and ware washing area lacked proper shields, coatings or covers.
The business was allowed to reopen May 30. Owner Shukhrat Rakhimov said, “We’ve been working with Orkin, the pest control guys. The inspector came the day after the coolers broke and all of our stuff was in places where it wasn’t supposed to be. We had to close until we could fix the cooler. Orkin came and did what they needed to do. The next day we put everything back, all the coolers are working now and she let us reopen. It was better for us to close down and take care of everything.”
Ike Danes 3015 N.W. 79th Street, Miami was closed June 7 for operating without a license. An inspector also observed potentially hazardous cold foods held at improper temperatures; there was no three-compartment sink provided for ware washing; cold and hot water was not provided/was shut off; there was no employee hand washing sink; outer openings of the establishment could not be properly sealed when not in operation; there was no certified food manager and proof of required, state approved employee training was not available for some employees. There was no phone number for the owner recorded in state reports.
Natalie’s BBQ Shack, also at 3015 N.W. 79th Street, Miami was closed June 7 for operating without a license. A stop sale order was issued on potentially hazardous food due to temperature abuse; raw poultry was improperly stored over raw ribs in a cooler; food was being prepared on an outdoor grill that had no cover; an employee began working with food, handling clean equipment or utensils or touching unwrapped, single-service items without first washing hands; a cutting board was stained/soiled, no longer cleanable; hot water was not provided/shut off; there was no employee hand washing sink and there was no sign, soap, paper towels or drying device provided; outer openings of the establishment could not be properly sealed when not in operation; there was no certified food manager and proof of required, state approved employee training was not available for some employees. A phone number for the owner was not recorded in state reports.
Happy Wok Chinese Restaurant, 1615 N. State Rd. 7, Lauderhill was briefly closed June 6 after an inspector observed ready-to-eat, potentially hazardous egg rolls, cooked chicken, cooked noodles, rice and shrimp were prepared on site, held more than 24 hours and not properly date-marked; plastic bowls without handles were used for food storage; raw pork was improperly stored over wonton wrappers and raw chicken was improperly stored over sauce in a cooler; single use chicken boxes were reused for breading foods; a hand wash sink was not accessible for employee use at all times; a meat cleaver was stored between a table and cooler in the kitchen; potentially hazardous cold raw chicken was left out in the kitchen and fried rice was held at greater than 41 degrees Fahrenheit; working containers of food were removed from original containers and not identified by common names and no paper towels or drying device were provided at a hand washing sink.
Also, there was a hole in a wall with gnaw marks in the back of the rice storage room; Walmart plastic bags were used to store cooked chicken; rodent rub marks were present along walls/ceilings in the rice storage room and canned goods storage; raw and cooked chicken, breaded shrimp, raw pork, prepped vegetables, raw and cooked shrimp, egg rolls and various sauces were uncovered in cold storage; raw shrimp was stored over produce in a cooler; no chlorine chemical test kit was provided when using chlorine sanitizer at a sink/ware washing machine; no copy of the latest inspection report was available; a rice scoop was stored in standing water less than 135 degrees Fahrenheit; an employee was observed washing wares without soap or sanitizer; chlorine sanitizer was not at proper minimum strength for manual ware washing; the microwave interior was soiled with encrusted food debris and raw chicken and pork were stored behind cooked turkey and water chestnuts in a cooler on the cook line.
The inspector also found about 40 moist and dry rodent droppings in the dry food store room with rice and food containers; 7 droppings were also on a shelf used to store takeout containers, 22 moist and dry droppings were on the floor in a room with two freezers and there were 23 moist droppings in another room used to store canned goods and sauces. Two rat traps were seen; the employee bathroom door was not self-closing, there was no currently certified food service manager on duty and an employee washed hands in a sink other than the approved one.
The business was allowed to reopen June 7. An employee said the manager was not on the premises and would not take a message.
The Crime & Safety blog reports on inspections of South Florida dining spots as the state pursues its goal to visit Florida’s 45,000 licensed restaurants.
If you're going out to eat,search our restaurant databases before you leave home.
The state says it's not the number of critical violations that will cause a restaurant to be temporarily shut down, but rather the nature of what an inspector finds that merits closing a business.
After a restaurant is shuttered, an inspector typically visits again within 24 hours and continues to visit until violations are resolved and the business can re-open. Repeat critical violations can lead to fines in a future administrative complaint levied by the state.
If a bad dining experience makes you feel ill, it’s easy to complain to the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation by calling 850-487-1395 or by filing a report online at MyFloridaLicense.com. But beware: that’s not the place for personal vendettas. False reports can lead to misdemeanor charges.
And if you haven’t checked out a bistro’s inspection history online before making a reservation, state law requires restaurants to provide customers with a copy.
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