Tucson, AZ

Local Chain Restaurant Hit With 7 Health Code Violations

Greyson F
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Dirty and grease was one of the issues at a local restaurant.Photo byNathan DumlaoonUnsplash

Another week, another chain restaurant performed poorly on its annual health inspection. Typically, chain and franchise restaurants tend to excel at food safety, due to all the safeguards in place at the corporate level and what could happen to the manager and regional owners should the restaurant fail to perform up to the established standards. And yet, that has not prevented various restaurants over the past several months from poor health inspection grades. The current restaurant in Tucson, perhaps unexpectedly, received a second annual inspection within the same calendar year, which is odd, but nevertheless, seven violations were uncovered during the most recent inspection.

On November 9, the county health inspector paid a visit to Denny’s (#7249) at 1510 West Valencia Road here in Tucson. The issues started right out of the gate, as the Person In Charge (PIC) was not present when the inspection started. While the PIC did arrive “minutes later,” the health inspector noted this and informed the PIC that someone who has undergone the state’s food and safety certification must be present at all times. It was not indicated as to what time of day the inspection took place or how much if any, advanced warning the restaurant was given.

During the inspection the health inspector watched a member of the kitchen staff working with their hands while prepping raw meat before moving to ready-to-eat food without washing their hands first. This was a Priority violation in that it can directly lead to the contamination of food and cause foodborne illnesses.

The health inspector spotted stainless steel containers, as well as coffee cups, marked “clean”, scattered throughout the restaurant that were soiled and dirty. The inspector informed the PIC to remove all the items and to thoroughly wash and sanitize everything before putting the items back and marking them clean. This was on top of an excessive amount of grease accumulation around food equipment at the cook line. There was also a large amount of grease, hash browns, and food debris inside the fridge and around the griddle. The PIC was told to use a degreaser and to clean and sanitize everything thoroughly.

While most of the issues inside the Denny’s were corrected at the time of the inspection, there was an issue with the rear exit door, as the sweeper on the bottom of the door was damaged, leaving a large gap between the door and the floor. This makes the restaurant easily accessible to pests. The PIC was told the restaurant had 30 days to correct and a follow-up inspection has been scheduled.


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