Tarrant County Health Department conducts routine inspections on every food facility in the County.
These inspections are to ensure that restaurants are following safe food handling procedures. In addition, county inspectors want to ensure that safeguards are in place to protect the food from contamination and consumers from foodborne illness. Therefore, these inspectors inspect these facilities and document any infraction.
I just read inspection reports for two restaurants that show a lot of safety violations that can make consumers sick.
Mid-Cities Cafe, located at 505 Industrial, also had 19 violations.
As soon as the inspector walked into the facility, the inspector observed many food items such as sausage and other food products were kept below 135°F, violating the County and FDA regulations.
According to U.S Food Safety and Inspection Service, "keeping food below 135F allows bacteria to grow to dangerous levels that can cause illness." Bacteria grow rapidly between 40 °F and 135 °F, referred to as the "Danger Zone."
Employees stored eggs boxes above vegetables. This is a massive mistake because it allows cross-contamination to take place. Cross-contamination occurs when bacteria or other microorganisms are unintentionally transferred from one object to another.
Almost every shelf in the facility was dirty, AC vents had considerable dust on them, and hand sinks were filthy and didn't have a paper towel to allow proper handwashing procedures.
The last inspection of Top Donuts, located at 800 Forest Ridge, revealed 19 violations.
Donuts were stored in grocery bags, violating the food safety rules that all food products shall be kept in easily cleanable, durable, and non-absorbent containers that protect food from contamination.
The County inspector also observed that the facility, cutting boards, food containers were dirty and moldy, and he instructed staff to clean and sanitize all food contact and non-food contact surfaces.
Sanitizing water buckets had no sanitizer in them. In addition, chemical bottles weren't labeled, and they were stored on food preparation tables, which can lead to accidental chemical poisoning. The water heater wasn't hot, making handwashing and dishwashing a challenge. Flies were observed in the facility, and food boxes were stored on the floor.
In my experience, these bad inspection reports could result from bad timing or unskilled employees making mistakes that experienced individuals won't make. However, the restaurant manager's responsibility is to ensure the restaurant is clean and safe.
The reports generated by these inspections are available online so consumers can make educated choices about where to eat.