Food & Drink

Dirty dining: Old pancake batter. Bare hands on food. And more issues at area restaurants 

During the most recent inspections of Manatee County restaurants, several establishments had employee handwashing issues.

Multiple Bradenton-area restaurants were cited for food that was held at unsafe temperatures or food that was too old.

Here’s what inspectors found.

Zenobia Mediterranean & Kebab Grill, 1857 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Bradenton

  • A cook was observed handling dirty dishes and returning to food preparation without changing gloves or washing hands.
  • An employee was observed using a handwash sink as a dump sink.
  • A probe thermometer used for measuring the temperature of food was soiled with a grease-like substance, according to an inspector.
  • There was no proof of required training for any employees.
  • A spray bottle near a stove was not labeled.
  • Chemical cleaners were stored on a preparation table near fryers.
  • Multiple cutting boards in the kitchen had cut marks and were no longer cleanable.
  • There was standing water in a reach-in cooler.
  • A follow-up inspection was required.

Zota Beach Resort, 4711 Gulf of Mexico Dr., Longboat Key

  • Pooled eggs, provolone cheese, ham, cooked sausage, spinach, pasta and ravioli were cold held at temperatures greater than 41 degrees. The pasta and ravioli had been held overnight and were voluntarily discarded. The other foods were iced down for rapid cooling.
  • Hummus that was dated more than a week old was found in a walk-in cooler. The food was discarded.
  • Sanitizer spray bottles were stored with liquor bottles in a drink well.
  • There was an encrusted material on a can opener blade. An employee cleaned it.
  • Containers were blocking access to an employee handwash sink. The containers were removed.
  • No soap was provided at two employee handwash sinks. Corrective action was taken.

  • No written procedures were available for use of time as a public health control to hold potentially hazardous food. Hollandaise sauce was being held at room temperature with no procedure in place. An inspector provided the required paperwork to a manager.

  • Meat sauce that had been frozen for future use and was then thawed was not properly date-marked.

  • A follow-up inspection was required.

IHOP, 5427 14th St. W., Bradenton

  • Diced ham, diced tomatoes, sliced tomatoes, sour cream, milk, sliced ham and raw chicken were cold held at temperatures greater than 41 degrees. An inspector advised a restaurant operator to store food items in colder areas of the reach-in coolers, away from the unit doors. Corrective action was taken.
  • Pancake batter that had been prepared the previous day was stored in a dispenser on the cook line with no temperature control or time-monitoring in use. A restaurant operator discarded the batter.

  • The ambient air thermometer in a holding unit was not accurate.
  • The floor of a walk-in freezer was soiled.
  • Coffee filters were not stored protected from contamination. Corrective action was taken.
  • Reach-in cooler shelves were pitted with rust.
  • A follow-up inspection was required.

BEHIND OUR REPORTING

Why did we report this story?

Each week, the Bradenton Herald reviews data of restaurants that have been recently inspected in Manatee County. Local public health departments regularly inspect businesses serving food to ensure restaurants and other food retail outlets are following safe food handling procedures.

Kostas Family Restaurant, 1631 Eighth Ave. W., Palmetto

  • Cooked chicken, beef ribs, raw fish and raw chicken were cold held at temperatures greater than 41 degrees. A stop sale was issued.
  • An employee on the cook line was observed changing gloves without washing hands.
  • The interior of a microwave on the cook line was soiled.
  • Flour was stored on the floor near the cook line. Corrective action was taken.
  • A follow-up inspection was required.

Chang Kao Thai Cuisine, 6233 14th St. W., Bradenton

  • An inspector observed two incidents of bare hand contact with food.
  • Wiping cloth sanitizer exceeded the maximum concentration allowed.
  • The certified food manager or person in charge lacked knowledge of foodborne illnesses and symptoms of illness that would prevent an employee from working with food.
  • An open container of half-and-half was not properly date-marked.
  • There was no proof of required training for any employees.
  • A spray bottle containing a toxic substance was not labeled.
  • The kitchen floor was soiled.
  • An in-use rice scoop was stored in standing water at less than 135 degrees.
  • Walk-in cooler shelves were pitted with rust.
  • A follow-up inspection was required.

D’s Breakfast and Burgers, 423 10th Ave. W., Palmetto

  • An cook was observed cracking eggs and then changing tasks without washing hands. An inspector educated a restaurant operator regarding proper handwashing procedure.
  • Wiping cloth sanitizing solution exceeded the maximum concentration allowed. Corrective action was taken.
  • The interior of an ice machine was soiled with slime or mold-like substance, according to an inspector.
  • A bug zapping device was installed over a food preparation area.
  • There was an encrusted material on a can opener blade.
  • A slicer blade guard was soiled. A restaurant operator sanitized it.
  • The interior of a microwave was soiled. Corrective action was taken.
  • An inspector observed a slime buildup on walk-in cooler gaskets.
  • A wall at the end of the cook line was soiled with a buildup of grease.
  • Coffee filters were stored unprotected from contamination. Corrective action was taken.
  • The restaurant met inspection standards.

Villa Italia Cafe, 2808 10th St. W., Palmetto

  • Dishmachine sanitizer was not at the proper minimum strength. An inspector advised setting up manual dishwashing until the dishmachine was functioning properly.
  • An employee was observed changing gloves without washing hands. Corrective action was taken.
  • A manager lacked proof of food manager certification.
  • There was no proof of required training for any employees.
  • A follow-up inspection was required.

Editor’s Note: According to the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation, these reports are a “snapshot” of the conditions present at the time of the inspection and are public record. The agency is required to inspect every licensed restaurant at least once per year, but new and “high-risk” establishments tend to be inspected more frequently.

When an emergency shutdown order is given by an inspector, it must first be reviewed and approved by agency supervisors. In order for a business to reopen, an inspector will continue visiting the establishment daily until compliance is met. Some citations may include a financial penalty. Inspectors may also respond to complaints, which can be filed here.

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