Tarrant County Health Department performs 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.
Here are the reports of two restaurants that show a lot of safety violations that can make consumers sick.
The last inspection of Taquitos at 401 E Hurst Blvd revealed 13 critical violations.
Inspectors have a useful handwashing habit. They wash their hands as soon as they walk into any restaurant. However, when the county inspector tried to wash his hands at Taquitos, the inspector noticed that all hand sinks in the facility lacked hand soap and paper towels, making handwashing impossible.
Food wasn't protected from biological, physical, or chemical contamination.
Cooked beef and chicken were kept on the stove at 85F, which is a temperature that is perfect for bacteria to grow and multiply quickly, violating the County and FDA regulations.
According to U.S Food Safety and Inspection Service, "keeping food below 135F allows bacteria to grow to hazardous levels that can cause illness." Bacteria grow rapidly between 40 °F and 135 °F, referred to as the "Danger Zone."
Raw shell eggs were stored over ready-to-eat food items. This is a dangerous practice because it can lead to cross-contamination, a leading factor for foodborne illness.
Employees weren't trained to serve safe food.
Employees were also using non-approved insecticide inside the restaurant, which can leave a residue that can be very toxic to consumers.
Most employees didn't have food handler training, and the manager lacked the proper training to serve food safely. Lack of training was obvious because the restaurant was very dirty, and they were washing dishes improperly, and sometimes, dishes weren't sanitized.
The last inspection of Rusty Taco at 775 Grapevine Hwy revealed 11 critical violations. For example, the ice machine was dirty. In addition, employees used broken food containers to prepare and store food, and many other violations.
Raw beef and pork were stored over raw fish in the walk-in cooler. This is a massive error because it leads to cross-contamination. Cross-contamination occurs when bacteria or other microorganisms are unintentionally transferred from one object to another.
Employees also weren't trained, and that was obvious because they were washing dishes with no sanitizer and holding food at improper temperatures.
In my experience, these reports could result from bad timing or inexperienced employees making errors that skilled individuals won't make. However, the restaurant manager's responsibility is to keep the restaurant clean and safe.
The reports generated by these inspections are available online so consumers can make informed choices about where to eat.