Restaurants come up short storing food products

May 19, 2017 07:47 PM

How long do you let your leftovers sit on the counter? When you put your leftovers in the fridge, are they covered or uncovered? Your answer could mean the difference in keeping your family healthy. We featured restaurants this week that got two or more critical violations, and nearly all were for food temperature.

At the Subway on Monroe Avenue in downtown Rochester, the ad campaign may be “Eat Fresh, but apparently all was not fresh enough for inspectors of the Monroe County Department of Health.

The store was slapped with two following violations: Food that wasn't cold enough and failure to have enough equipment to keep food cold.

Here's why that's important: Food 45 degrees and colder slows the growth of bacteria. Food above 140 degrees kills it. But food at temperatures in the middle, 45 degrees to 140 degrees, are in what health inspectors call "the danger zone."

Pete Castronovo of the University of Rochester’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety said, "Harmful bacteria can grow in those temperatures. Now 70 to 100 is the most dangerous part of the danger zone. And a lot of these kitchens, especially in the summer time are 80, 90 degrees in there."

That's why inspectors take temperature violations seriously. But soon after getting two critical violations, downtown Rochester’s Subway on Monroe Avenue got a new owner, Ken Yurgelun.

Yurgelun said, “We took over this store the last week of April. The health issues were resolved within a day or two of me taking ownership."

He said the health department recently re-inspected the restaurant and gave it the all clear.

Equipment failures can also lead to restaurants getting a critical violation.

"The other problem is sometimes equipment goes down and they don't realize it right away or they don't fix it right away and that's where things can get out of temperature," said Castronovo.

That's what happened at Jines Restaurant and Catering.

Health inspectors cited the restaurant twice for food that wasn't cold enough. The culprit was a cooler on the fritz.

The owner, Peter Jines said, "We take temperature logs every morning, and that's when we found out that cooler was down. Corrective action was taken immediately."

Inspectors cited West Winds for food that wasn't cold enough as well. The restaurant has a kiosk at this medical office park at Clinton Crossing in Rochester.

The owner, Jim Cerqua said, "We prepare them [sandwiches] at the restaurant and in transit they have a tendency to warm a bit."

The fix was easy. The owner bought cooling equipment for the trip.

But no one at Yang's Kitchen Express explained why it got two critical violations for food that wasn't cold enough. Health inspectors also cited the restaurant for the risk of cross contamination of raw and cooked food.

Little Caesar's had the opposite problem: Food that wasn't hot enough and a second critical violation for failure to have on-site thermometers to check temperature. No one from the restaurant returned our repeated calls.

Schamrock's Irish Pub did not have the luck of the Irish when inspectors cited them with four critical violations -- more than any other restaurant that week. The most frequent problem was food temperature. No one from the restaurant called me back.

We want our consumer investigations to empower you, the consumer.

Here's Deanna's Do List:

Advertisement – Content Continues Below

1. If you're making dinner tonight, put leftovers in the fridge as soon as you finish eating dinner.

2. Also, experts say don't put those leftovers in one big container.  Instead put them in smaller ones so they'll cool faster.

Before you go out to eat, consider our advice.  Here’s Deanna’s Do List.

1. Check the restaurants inspection record.

2. If you see a problem, report it.


Deanna Dewberry

Copyright 2017 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


We no longer have Facebook comments on this site. Please visit our Facebook Page to join the conversation.