June 09, 2017 07:32 PM
On a warm night there are few things better than sitting out on the patio of your favorite restaurant with good food and good friends. When we pick a restaurant, most of us give little thought to food safety. But we should. In this Restaurants Exposed report, we analyze the inspection reports of three restaurants outside Monroe County that were cited with two or more critical violations.
Mae's Restaurant in Geneseo re-opened under new ownership on April Fools’ Day - no joke.
And inspectors weren't joking either when they dropped in a week later, citing it with four critical violations.
One violation was for food that wasn’t hot enough, and another for failure to have enough hot holding equipment. A third violation was for food that wasn’t cold enough and the fourth was for failure to have sufficient refrigeration equipment.
The state requires that hazardous refrigerated foods be kept at temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Hot hazardous foods should be kept at temperatures above 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Hazardous foods are any foods that come from an animal like meat, fish, poultry and cheese.
The new owner of Mae’s, Mariah Ezard, told News10NBC she bought the old owner's equipment and it wasn't working well. “That day we went out and bought new equipment,” she said. She passed her second inspection with flying colors.
At Little Ridge Restaurant in Batavia, inspectors found food that wasn't cold enough. The restaurant was slapped with two critical violations. No one returned our repeated calls. But food safety experts say restaurants often have problems with food temperature.
“It's easy for that to happen unless they are being vigilant every step of the way. And it only takes one employee to be unaware," said Pete Castronovo of the University of Rochester’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety.
The owner of the Village Tavern in Geneseo says it was a hardworking employee made some careless mistakes that caused the restaurant to be cited for two critical violations.
The first was for the risk of cross contamination of raw and cooked food. The owner says the employee put a closed container of cooked food on the wrong shelf in the fridge.
The second violation was for food that wasn't cooled properly. "Improper cooling used to be considered the number one contributing factor to food-borne illness," said Castronovo.
That's because if it takes hours for your leftovers to cool, you could be providing the perfect environment for harmful bacteria to grow.
"You have to leave the foods uncovered when you're cooling it in a refrigerator and reduce the mass," said Castronovo.
The Tavern's owner, Craig Chiara, says that same employee left meat in a container that was too big for the meat to cool quickly. He reprimanded and re-trained that employee.
"Twenty-five years (in the restaurant business) and they're the first two critical violations that I've had,” said Chiara.
He says all was perfect at the re-inspection, and for his employee, it was a tough lesson learned.
News10NBC Consumer Investigator Deanna Dewberry spends hours each week talking to restaurant owners. She asked them what they look for when they go out to eat.
Their insider information is great, and they’re tips are included in Deanna’s Do List.
1. Check the floors and bathrooms. If they're dirty, the kitchen is likely dirty too.
2. Visit during peak hours. Those are Wednesday through Saturday 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. If it's slow, the restaurant is likely struggling and may be cutting corners.
3. Check tables and chairs for grime. If they're sticky, cleanliness likely is not a priority.
Created: June 09, 2017 07:32 PM
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