Yellow- and blood-stained bedding, dirty mattresses, bugs and cooks who didn’t wash their hands were among problems noted at Sedgwick County restaurants and motels when they were inspected by the Kansas Department of Agriculture in January.
Thirty-two Wichita area food establishments (like restaurants, gas stations and schools) and businesses that charge for sleeping accommodations (hotels and motels, for example) were out of compliance last month, according to inspection results posted on the agency’s website. Not all businesses that have violations are considered out of compliance.
Workers preparing meals at six restaurants got in trouble for either failing to scrub down or not changing their gloves while preparing customers’ meals including:
▪ A Braum’s Ice Cream store employee at 440 N. Tyler Road who wore the same gloves on the food line that he used to swap sanitizer solution
▪ A cook who touched a clean serving plate after handling raw meat at Restaurante Delicias Mexican Food, 2117 E. Central
▪ A Yo-B Yogurt and Burgers cook at 303 N. Mead who loaded dirty dishes into a dishwasher “then immediately handled clean and sanitized dishes”
▪ A Jose Peppers cook at 2243 N. Tyler Road who scooped shredded lettuce into a bowl with the same hand she used to touch raw chicken; another worker there wiped a food thermometer on his dirty apron so he could use it again
▪ One employee at El Rancho, 2801 N. Broadway, didn’t change his gloves after drinking from a Coke can. Another touched tortillas without washing after she cracked eggs on a grill
▪ A cook at Logan’s Roadhouse, 353 S. Rock Road, picked up ready-to-eat salmon after putting raw steak on the grill
In all cases, employees scrubbed the contaminated dishes or trashed the tainted food when inspectors pointed out their mistakes then started changing gloves and washing their hands.
Bugs were problematic at three restaurants and two motels.
Garden Plain’s Stern Bar and Grill, 428 N. Main, threw out Juarez Gold tequila because of a fruit fly in the bottle. And Logan’s Roadhouse, 353 S. Rock Road, tossed a bottle of DeKuyper Creme de Banana Liqueur that had two flies in it.
On Jan. 31, an inspector spotted cockroaches crawling under the water heater at El Fogon, 1555 S. Bluffview.
Meanwhile the Royal Lodge, 320 E. Kellogg, closed a room that had cockroaches on the toilet and bathroom wall, and the Mark 8 Inn, 1130 N. Broadway, had bed bug infestations in at least six rooms and cockroaches in a seventh.
A motel about two miles to the south — the Country Side Inn at 803 S. Broadway — was cited for different but equally worrisome problems: yellow- and blood-stained bedding, a cracked toilet lid, missing carbon monoxide detectors, stained and worn chair upholstery and dirty mattresses.
The Wichita Eagle curates a database of the non-compliant inspections. You can search it using keywords like roach or mold or bedbug (or as two words, “bed bug”), by a business’ name or address, or by date. Simply hit the search button if you want to see the violations at all establishments.
When is a business out of compliance?
It’s common for businesses to have some violations during an inspection. The number and kind of violations discovered, though, determine whether a business appears on the non-compliant list.
A business is considered out of compliance if an inspector finds three or more priority violations — those that directly affect the prevention of food-borne illnesses — or five or more priority foundation violations — issues that could lead to problems preventing food-borne illnesses. Both types are considered critical violations, which require immediate attention.
A business is also out of compliance if it has a problem that isn’t or can’t be corrected immediately in front of an inspector, like a plumbing problem. Businesses found to be non-compliant are required to have follow-up inspections.
Inspectors also note what’s known as core violations on their reports. Those are problems that aren’t considered critical.
The frequency of inspections depends on the type of facility. Most restaurants are inspected once every 12 to 18 months. All establishments are inspected when they open as part of the licensing process and also when someone complains about conditions.
Inspections can take place at any time, and follow-up inspections take place if violations aren’t corrected on site immediately.
How to complain about conditions
To file a confidential food safety complaint involving illness, call the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Response at 877-427-7317 or email EpiHotline@kdheks.gov.
Food establishments include grocery stores, gas stations and convenience stores, senior meal sites, mobile food units, restaurants and schools. Food processors include wholesalers, warehouses, packers and manufacturers. Lodging establishments include hotels and motels, boarding houses and any other operation that charges for sleeping accommodations.
You can learn more about Kansas’ lodging and food safety laws here.