Miami Restaurant Closed after 110 Food Safety Violations
A Miami restaurant was subjected to its twelfth food safety inspection in two years last week, and inspectors found so many violations that the establishment was ordered to shut down.
China Buffet on SW 40th St. in Miami was inspected by food safety officers six times in 2015 and five times in 2014, but what inspectors found on January 19 caused them to close the restaurant until all violations can be addressed. According to a local ABC affiliate Local 10, the inspection was prompted by a complaint from a patron, and inspectors cited the restaurant for a staggering 110 violations of food safety and health codes.
Among the most egregious violations noted were the use of a construction drill as a hand mixer and a massive infestation with roaches and “small, flying insects” in both the kitchen and in the dining room. On multiple occasions, employees were observed failing to wash their hands or change out of dirty gloves before handling food, and the manager of the establishment was noted as having a complete lack of knowledge about safe food handling. A more detailed list of violations includes:
- “Food-contact surface not smooth and easily cleanable. Construction drill used as a mixer.”
- “Roach activity present as evidenced by approximately 6 live roaches found in 3 compartment sink located between prep table and dish-machine, 1 live roach underneath prep table in the hibachi area.”
- “Live, small flying insects in kitchen, food preparation area, or food storage area.”
- “Accumulation of dead or trapped birds, insects, rodents, or other pests, in control devices. Dead roaches inside light shields.”
- “Dead roaches on premises. 6 around kitchen.”
- “Employee switched from working with raw food to ready-to-eat food without washing hands.”
- “Employee began working with food, handling clean equipment or utensils, or touching unwrapped single-service items without first washing hands.”
- “Employee handled soiled dishes or utensils and then handled clean dishes or utensils without washing hands.”
- “Dish machine not sanitizing properly. Discontinue use of dish machine for sanitizing and set up manual sanitization until dish machine is repaired and sanitizing properly.”
- “Raw animal foods not properly separated from one another based upon minimum required cooking temperature in walk-in cooler. Chicken over pork.”
- “Single-use gloves not changed as needed after changing tasks or when damaged or soiled.”
- “Accumulation of black/green mold-like substance inside the ice bin.”
- “Accumulation of encrusted food debris on/around mixer head.”
- “Accumulation of food debris/grease on food-contact surface. BBQ oven.”
- “Certified Food Manager or person in charge lacks knowledge of foodborne illnesses and symptoms of illness that would prevent an employee from working with food, clean equipment and utensils, and single-service items.”
- “Attached equipment soiled with accumulated dust, grease, or food debris. Grease accumulation between cooking equipment.”
- “Bathroom facility in disrepair.”
- “Bathroom facility not clean.”
- “Build-up of mold-like substance on nonfood-contact surface. Around equipment in waiter station.”
- “Employee eating in a food preparation or other restricted area.”
- “Objectionable odor in establishment. Kitchen.”
In Yelp reviews, multiple people who had eaten at the China Buffet stated that they had seen live roaches (one customer reported a roach running across her table), soiled carpet, and other unsanitary conditions.
The restaurant has been ordered closed until all safety and health violations may be addressed, the facility is fully cleaned and sanitized, and employees are properly instructed in safe food handling practices.
Of course, eating in a dirty restaurant is unpleasant, but the truth is that such violations of food prep safety laws and guidelines as have been reported at China Buffet can lead to the transmission of foodborne illnesses which can severely impact the health of patrons or may even cause fatality. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that up to 3,000 Americans die every year due to foodborne diseases, and up to 48 million are affected by food poisoning.
Foodborne illnesses can come from careless or uneducated home chefs, dirty restaurants, or even from contaminated food products shipped throughout the nation. In many cases, a skilled investigator can trace the source of a food poisoning outbreak and negligent parties can be held accountable for the suffering they cause. If you believe that you or your loved one has been a victim of food poisoning or a foodborne illness caused by unsafe food prep practices, you could be entitled to compensation.