July 13, 2024

Home Inspection

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CT school cafeteria among 12 eateries failing inspections

5 min read

A school cafeteria thawing taco meat in stagnant water, bare hand contact with food, seafood stored on top of raw vegetables are among the separate violations at 12 town eateries.

All the East Hartford locations have since passed inspection, through correcting violations on the spot or through re-inspection.

The public records were obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the Courant. The inspections were done over the last four months.

Health directors in Connecticut have said the surprise inspections represent a moment in time and the restaurants are safe to eat at or they would have been closed to meet the standard.

Restaurants often undergo high employee turnover, especially since the pandemic, and so retraining can be constant, the experts said.

Inspection violations can run the gamut from scoops without handles stored in bulk food items to food being served or stored at incorrect temperatures.

The “priority” violations that often lead to failure are those likely to contribute to foodborne illness, health department officials have said.

The inspection system, changed since last year to the FDA model, puts more focus on the acts of those preparing food and leaves more to judgment of inspectors.

The focus is on mitigating dangers to the public and educating restaurant owners and managers.

The five major risk factors inspector look for in order to reduce the likelihood of foodborne illness include:

  • Poor personal hygiene such as improper hand washing and/or not washing hands when necessary; bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods, food service employees working while ill, rns on hands and wrists.
  • Food from unsafe sources, including food received from unapproved food sources and/or prepared in unpermitted locations.
  • Improper cooking temperatures and/or methods, including reheating, freezing.
  • Improper holding, time and temperature.
  • Food contamination, including through use of equipment, poor employee practices, improper storage or preparation, exposure to chemicals.

The 12 eateries that failed the health inspection in East Hartford include:

Bread from Heaven, 912 Main St. was inspected on Feb. 2, 2024.

A health inspector’s notes include: unlabeled container of chemicals in the food prep area; paper towel dispenser broken; back door has gaps in kitchen; plastic shelf unclean in kitchen as well as the floor under it.

Neither the owner nor manager could be reached for comment.

Connecticut River Academy school cafeteria at Goodwin College, 9 Riverside Drive was inspected on Feb. 2, 2024.

An inspector’s notes include: low concentration of sanitizer; thawing taco meat in stagnant water bath; unlabeled spray bottle.

A woman answering the telephone at the school said she could “neither confirm nor deny, the allegations” and declined to connect the Courant with a school official.

El Sabroso, 980 Main St. was inspected on Feb. 2, 2024.

An inspector’s notes include: temperature issues; reach in cooler not functioning correctly; flour stored on the floor not six inches from the ground; seafood stored on top of raw vegetables. The notes also said they had a discussion about ill food worker policies and vomit and diarrhea clean up kits.

A person at the restaurant hung up on a Courant reporter when told they were calling for comment on the restaurant inspection.

Godavari Indian Restaurant, 1250 Burnside Ave. was inspected on December 14, 2023.

An inspector’s notes include: uncovered food items in a walk-in cooler; cutting boards unclean with deep grooves; missing thermometer in reach-in cooler; unclean oven top; food items being stored on the ground in the walk-in cooler; walk in freezer door doesn’t shut properly; unclean storage rooms; ceiling above dish machine and dish storage area in disrepair.

A person answering the telephone declined to comment.

Holiday Inn, 100 East River Drive, was inspected on Nov. 22, 2023. The inspector’s notes list issues including: “Complaint reported outdated food, unrefrigerated, and general uncleanliness.” But the inspector wrote at the end of the report that they did not observe any outdated or unrefrigerated food, although they did find some cleanliness violations.

Notes by the inspector regarding issues included: no sanitizer; hand soap needed at the hand sink; floor of dry storage area unclean with broken glass; ceilings in dry storage area in disrepair; gap at bottom of exit door.

Telephone messages were left at the hotel but not returned.

Maddie’s Restaurant, 395 Main St., was inspected on Jan. 26, 2024.

Inspector notes listing issues include: bare hand contact with ready to eat foods; ice machine interior needs to be washed, rinsed, sanitized; unlabeled chemical spray bottles.

Phone calls were not returned.

Ranch House, 284 Governor St. was inspected on December 22, 2023.

An inspector’s notes include: “Complaint received that a paper clip was found in home fried potatoes during a catered event at the Community Cultural Center on Dec. 22, 2023.”

Issues listed by the inspector include: thermometer needed for milk/bread cooler; thermometer needed for warmer; unclean interiors of coolers; probe thermometers needed; unclean walls and floors behind grill; ice scoop stored in ice with handle touching product; interior of ice machine unclean.

A telephone call seeking comment was not returned.

Triple A Diner, 1209 Main St. was inspected on Jan. 22, 2024.

An inspector’s notes listing issues include: deep grooves in cutting board on main line; missing paper towels and soap at hand sinks in the kitchen; uncovered food items inside reach in cooler; walk in cooler has unclean rusty metal shelves; toilet in men’s room not anchored to ground; unclean plexiglass covering the ice; leak in two door cooler.

Neither the owner nor the manager could be reached for comment.

Pepper’s Jamaican Restaurant, 603 Burnside Ave. was inspected on Feb. 16, 2024.

An inspector’s notes include: temperature issues; three bay sink leaking in second bay; improper cooling observed; unclean floors (staff cleaned up during inspection); no date marking/labeling observed; no vomit and diarrhea clean up kit; person in charge not demonstrating knowledge. The notes indicate the inspector discussed cooling and hot holding requirements with someone at the eatery.

Neither the manager nor the owner could be reached for comment.

Vinson Kitchen, 488 Park Ave. was inspected on Jan. 8, 2024.

An inspector’s notes include no soap on a back hand sink; tools, maintenance equipment and pesticides stored in food storage/equipment areas; food safety manager certification is expired and the class and exam need to be retaken.

No one could be reached for comment.

N.Y. Chicken & Grill, 168 Burnside Ave., was inspected on Jan. 10, 2024.

An inspector’s notes on issues include: thermometer on exterior of walk in not working; raw chicken in walk-in stored above potatoes; unable to locate probe thermometer.

Neither the owner nor manager could be reached for comment.

Wendy’s, 303 Main St., was inspected on Jan. 20, 2024.

An inspector’s note of issues include: “food server worker observed touching hair, and continue to work without washing hands; uncovered food containers inside reach in cooler; no written procedure/kit for vomit and diarrhea event; unclean interior of freezer reach in.

A woman who identified herself as a manager at Wendy’s denied the restaurant failed the inspection.

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