ILLINOIS: New records show more restaurant inspection failures
Posted: October 30th, 2011 - 9:38am
Source: CU-Citizen Access
When public health officials conducted a routine inspection of Quizno’s in Urbana last month, they discovered 12 critical health-code violations.
They included a “bag of brown lettuce found soaking in liquid in [the] walk-in cooler;” vegetables, cheese and salad dressings stored at improper temperatures; and employees cleaning cutting boards and knives without a proper sanitizer. When inspection was finished Quizno’s had scored a negative 22 on the district’s 100-point grading scale.
As a result, inspectors from the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District suspended Quizno’s health permit on Sept. 26 and temporarily closed the restaurant at 114 N. Vine St.
Quizno’s was just one of 27 Champaign County restaurants that failed routine health inspections from mid-April through September, according to records obtained from the public health district through the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.
Eating establishments fail health inspections when they score below 36. The public health district suspends their permits if they receive a negative score, if they fail a mandatory re-inspection after failing a routine inspection, or if there are code violations that present an imminent risk to diners’ health.
An employee who answered the phone at Quizno’s last week said the owner, listed on inspection records as Bhargavkumar Patel, is out of the country until November and no one else could comment on the inspection results.
Three days after Quizno’s permit was suspended, health officials returned for a re-inspection, and the restaurant was allowed to reopen after showing it was up to health standards. During the Sept. 29 re-inspection, the restaurant had no critical violations and scored 90 out of 100 points, according to the public health district report.
Restaurants are routinely inspected because unsanitary conditions can lead to food-borne illnesses such as salmonella, E. coli and Hepatitis A. Symptoms of food-borne illnesses – which can resemble the intestinal flu – include abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and dehydration, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Quizno’s wasn’t the only restaurant to receive a negative inspection score during the past five months.
Luna, an upscale eatery in the former train station at Chestnut Street and University Avenue in Champaign, received a score of negative 15 on its Sept. 14 inspection.
Inspectors noted 10 critical health-code violations, including a “container of moldy mousse found in dessert reach-in cooler,” an employee wiping his hands on his apron and not washing them while preparing food, and dishes being washed without the proper concentration of chlorine sanitizer.
The restaurant’s permit was suspended and it was temporarily closed that afternoon. Following re-inspections on Sept. 15 and 16, Luna reopened. No critical violations were found during the last inspection, and the restaurant had raised its score to 85 out of 100.
Reached by phone last week, owner Raquel Aikman declined to discuss the inspections.
“I really can’t comment,” she said. “There’s more involved than meets the eye.”
Of the 27 restaurants that failed inspections from mid-April through September, 11 had previously failed at least once since April 2007, according to public health district records.