Critical violations of state sanitation and safety laws recently observed by inspectors at two South Florida restaurants prompted the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation to cite the owners and briefly suspend operations.
New York Bagel & Deli, 10139 W. Oakland Park Blvd., Sunrise was briefly closed April 30 after an inspector observed torn packages of soda concentrate exposed to contamination (roaches) and a stop sale order was issued; stored food was uncovered in the walk-in cooler; the dish washer handled soiled dishes or utensils and then clean dishes or utensils without washing hands; an employee failed to wash hands before putting on a new set of gloves to work with food; a food server handled soiled dishes or utensils and then clean dishes or utensils without washing hands; freezer shelves had rust and were pitted; the wet wiping solution was not stored in sanitizing solution between uses; food debris/grease were accumulated on a chopper, the oven and a grill; the cutting board(s) were stained/soiled; cooler racks had a buildup of soiled material; a hand washing sink lacked paper towels or a mechanical drying device; there were 30 dead roaches on dry storage shelves, 7 dead roaches in a soda container and 5 dead roaches on shelves by the utensils and plates by the server line; 44 live roaches were seen, including more than 20 in the oven and 15 on a pan near cooking equipment in the kitchen.
Also, the inspector found the exterior door had a gap at the threshold; grease was accumulated under cooking equipment; there was food debris on the kitchen floor and tracking powder pesticide was used inside the establishment. The business was allowed to re-open May 1, when an inspector found zero violations.
Owner Dennis Strategis said, “I was absentee for awhile, on another project. I’m back in control now. [The inspector] was here the next day, and everything was spotless.”
Sal’s Italian Ristorante, 20505 S. Dixie Highway, Miami was briefly closed April 30 after an inspector observed four dented, rusted cans of tomatoes and issued a stop sale order; uncovered trays of pasta were exposed to live roaches and stagnant, slimed water at the cooling drawer under cooking equipment at the line, and a stop sale order was issued due to adulterated food product; ready-to-eat, potentially hazardous food was prepared on site, held more than 24 hours and not date-marked; potentially hazardous cold food was held at greater than 41 degrees Fahrenheit; potentially hazardous cooked poultry was held at less than 135 degrees Fahrenheit or above; potentially hazardous cooked chicken wings were placed in a closed plastic bag while cooling; pasta was stored in a cooler and not covered; food was stored on the floor; there was an accumulation of food debris/grease on a food contact surface; the microwave interior was encrusted with food debris; a line cooler below the stove where pasta was stored had stagnant slimed water and pasta residue; there was a build up of grease and food debris on food prep shelves; 10 live roaches were in the crevices of cooling equipment at the cook line; food debris was accumulated on the kitchen floor; standing water was around a three compartment sink near the water heater; there was a build up of soil, debris on the floor, along the walls, baseboards, cabinets and/or equipment; the manager lacked food manager certification and there was no proof that required state-approved employee training was provided for any employee.
The restaurant was allowed to re-open May 2 after a follow-up inspection. The operator could not immediately be reached for comment.
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.