Many Violations At Smith County Restaurants: Part Two

Little Italy, 3320 S. Broadway in Tyler was inspected Feb. 16.  Marinara sauce from the previous day was at 113F. It should be heated to 165F or cooled to 41F or below.  Cooler was holding products at 54-57F... should be 41F or below.  Products were thrown out.

Brenda Elrod, R.S., chief sanitarian of the Northeast Texas Public Health District: "Temperature is crucial to controlling the growth of bacteria that makes us sick."

Also, raw chicken was stored above lettuce. Cooler condensation was dripping on vegetables. All potentially hazardous foods should have been date labeled. Total demerits: 24.

On a recheck: Feb. 21, numerous foods, including shrimp, were from 50-70F.  They should have been 41F or below.  The products were thrown out.  Date labeling was still needed. Total demerits: 16. On a recheck Feb. 23, no certified food manager was employed. Total demerits: 3. No further recheck ordered.

On The Border at 4301 S. Broadway in Tyler was inspected Feb. 23. Salad dressing, cheesecake, and dessert were held above the required 41F. The product was thrown out. Improper/inadequate handwashing noted. The inspector also noted the handsink needed soap.  Also seen, a bottle of cleaner or polish was improperly stored. Total demerits: 22.  On a recheck Feb. 24, all problems were corrected. No demerits.

Golden Corral at 420 WSW Loop 323 in Tyler was inspected Feb. 28. Chicken tested at 51F, tuna salad at 48F. Should have been 41F or below.  Fried chicken tested at 119F. Chicken strips at 113-128F. Should be 140F or hotter.  The inspector noted the dish washer was not properly washing hands between handling dirty and clean utensils. Dented cans were also seen, and those products were pulled. Insecticide was stored on a food storage shelf. WD-40 was seen stored over the meat slicer. Total demerits: 21.  No recheck ordered.

El Mejicano Restaurant at 678 WSW Loop 323 in Tyler was inspected Feb. 18. Cooked meat (two days old) at 64F.  It should be heated to 165F, or cooled to 41F.  That was thrown out. Cantaloupe, rice pudding, and tuna salad tested at 50-54F. Should be 41F or below. That too was thrown out. Noodles in a reach-in-cooler were molded and mildewed, and were discarded. Workers were handling ready-to-eat foods without gloves, and no hand sanitizer was available. The problem was corrected by hand washing.

Elrod: "When our food handlers do not take the time to stop and wash their hands between two practices where cross contamination can occur, they are jeopardizing the food product and the customer is at risk."

A fly strip with dead flies was hanging over the rice storage and ice machines. Utensils and pans were not clean and were stored wet. Total demerits: 21.  On a recheck Feb. 23, two pans of cooked ground beef in freezer tested at 51-56F.  They should have been rapidly cooled to 41F or below.  The product was thrown out. Stored foods also needed dating. Total demerits: 9. No further recheck ordered.

Half Moon Grill and Saloon at 16884 FM 2493 in Gresham was inspected Feb. 23. Half-and-half in cooler at 52F. Should be 41F or below, and that product was thrown out. A cook was seen drying hands on a dirty towel after washing hands. Problem corrected by rewashing hands. Molded cheese was seen in the walk-in-cooler. It was thrown out. Stored meats and potatoes were not properly dated. That was corrected on sight. Total demerits: 21. A recheck was ordered, but is not yet on file.

All reports provided by the Northeast Texas Public Health District.

Reported by Morgan Palmer.