Five South FLORIDA restaurants briefly closed by state for health, safety violations
Posted: March 31st, 2011 - 5:58pm
Source: Sun Sentinel
Critical violations of state sanitation and safety laws determined by inspectors at five South Florida restaurants last week prompted the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation to temporarily close them.
Mr. B. & Me Too, 6935 Via Bellini, Lake Worth was closed March 24 for having a vermin infestation. The inspector also found no required proof of employee training; no required consumer advisory provided for raw/undercooked animal food; the establishment was operating without a current license; there was no hand cleanser in the lavatory; a container of medicine was improperly stored in the kitchen; chlorine for the dishwasher was not at proper strength; eggs were out of proper temperature in melted ice water; whole cantaloupe with gnaw marks on one side was removed from sale and potentially hazardous chicken salad, egg salad and nova were held at greater than 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, the cook line cooler was incapable of maintaining proper temperatures and it lacked a thermometer; 25 rodent droppings were found on top of the dish washing machine; “too many to count” rodent droppings were found under the dish washing machine and 3-compartment sink and other droppings were found around the kitchen, including inside a croutons bucket on the cook prep line table, near cutting boards and inside a clean plate. Lettuce was stored on the floor of the walk-in cooler; uncovered brown sugar and raisins were in dry storage and cutting boards were pitted, grooved and encrusted with grease and black stains and were no longer usable.
The restaurant was allowed to re-open on March 25 after a pest control service was hired for three times per week for the first three weeks. The owner could not be reached at the telephone number given to the state.
Pacifico Chinese Restaurant, 3824 W. 12th Ave., Hialeah was closed March 21 for vermin infestation after 30 live roaches were found in the kitchen next to the 3-compartment sink and on the wall next to the ice machine. Twenty-nine other critical violations included working containers of food removed from original packaging and not identified by common name; ready-to-eat, prepared foods were held on site more than 24 hours and not properly date-marked; no required consumer advisory was provided for raw/undercooked animal food; honey chicken, ham and shell eggs were held at greater than 41 degrees Fahrenheit; food was stored on the floor; uncovered food was held in dry storage; there was improper storage of raw animal foods and ready-to-eat foods; a cloth was used as a food contact surface; the microwave was soiled and the can opener was encrusted with material.
Photo: Ricardo DeAratanha, Los Angeles Times.
The inspector observed bare hand contact of ready-to-eat food; observed an employee switch from working with raw food to ready-to-eat food without washing hands; there was no soap at hand-washing lavatory and no hot or cold water provided at a employee hand-wash sink and boxes were stored inside and on top of it; no probe-type thermometer was used to ensure proper food temperatures and potentially hazardous chicken was thawed at room temperature.
The restaurant was allowed to re-open March 22 with 5 critical violations, for the thermometers, signage; food containers and no proper chemical test kit provided for measuring the concentration of the sanitizer solution used for wiping cloths. Owner Theresa Lia said, “All of the issues have been corrected. They allowed us to reopen.”
Cecibon Bakery & Restaurant, 5934 N.W. 2nd Ave., Miami was closed March 21 for 13 critical violations including vermin infestation after 50 live roaches were found above the kitchen hand wash sink behind a wall-mounted shelf; 4 live roaches were in the oven and 15+ rodent droppings were observed in a rear prep room about 20-feet from the kitchen. Dead roaches were also seen inside discarded equipment inside a prep room.
Beans were removed from sale due to improper temperature; ready-to-eat, potentially hazardous food was prepared on site and held more than 24 hours but was not properly date-marked; potentially hazardous food was held at greater than 41 degrees Fahrenheit; employees were observed preparing food with bare hands and the restaurant had no alternative operating procedure in effect; employees prepared food and handled clean equipment or utensils or touched unwrapped, single-service items without washing hands; there was no covered waste receptacle in the women’s restroom; there was no proof of required employee training; no hand-washing sign was posted and no towels were provided at the sink for employees.
The restaurant was allowed to re-open March 22 with 1 critical violation, for not providing employee training. The person who answered the phone at the number provided to the state said it was not the phone number for the owner. A telephone number for the restaurant was not in service.
Laguna Stadium Restaurant, 2500 N.W. 10th Ave., Miami was closed March 22 for having a vermin infestation. The inspector found 7 critical violations, including non-exempt fish that had not undergone proper parasite destruction from cooking and ceviche was on the menu; potentially hazardous food was prepared on site and held more than 24 hours and not properly date-marked; soil was built up inside the ice bin; the male and female restrooms did not have tight-fitting, self-closing doors and rodent droppings were found in a prep room that is 10-feet from the kitchen. Five droppings were found under a prep table in the kitchen where single-service items are stored. Also, the manager lacked proof of food manager certification and the openings of the establishment could not be properly sealed when not in operation.
The restaurant was allowed to re-open March 23 with 2 critical violations for fish preparation and food manager certification. “It was only 24 hours, and it is open now,” owner Angela Sorto said. “No more problems.”
Tikal Restaurant, 525 N.W. 29th St., Miami was closed March 24 for having a vermin infestation. The inspector found 8 critical violations, including food removed from the original container and not identified by common name; ready-to-eat, potentially hazardous food was prepared on site and held more than 24 hours and not properly date-marked; raw chicken was stored over cooked food; the inspector observed bare hand contact of ready-to-eat food by employees and the establishment had no approved alternative operating procedure in effect; the inspector observed employees prepare food, handle clean equipment or utensils or touch unwrapped single-service items without washing hands; male and female restrooms were not enclosed with tight-fitting, self-closing doors; more than 25 live roaches were found in the kitchen; water was draining from the kitchen hand-wash sink onto the floor and potentially hazardous food was thawed in an improper manner.
Tikal Restaurant was allowed to reopen March 25 with 3 critical violations, for date marking, food containers and the restroom doors. Manager Humberto Vasquez said in Spanish, “There are no problems anymore. We fixed it quickly.”
We report here on inspections of South Florida dining spots each week as the state pursues its goal to review Florida’s 45,000 licensed restaurants twice each year.
A state spokeswoman has said it is 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 reopen. Repeat critical violations can lead to fines of $500 to $1,000 per instance 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: this isn’t 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.