Posted: April 29, 2013 at 2:50 a.m.

Information is from state Health Department records. Restaurants are listed in order of inspection date. All reports are from regular food service food store inspections unless otherwise noted.

This story is only available from our archives.

Wow! Lots of violations! Makes you wonder if it is safe to eat out!

Posted by: hoterikus

April 29, 2013 at 2:21 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Certainly makes me a little leery. Although, I've rarely gotten sick from anything directly traceable to a restaurant so maybe eating in these places builds up immunity!

Posted by: Dellmann

April 29, 2013 at 2:55 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

All food contains bacteria and most is contaminated with animal and human pathogens. That's just the way food is. Some your body can handle nicely and others are more problematic.

There is nothing more dangerous in terms of food safety than eating salad from a restaurant buffet. The critical step in the elimination of foodbourne pathogens is cooking. They all die above 140 degrees fahrenheit (health standards put in some slop for inaccurate thermometers so the temperature where pathogens die is somewhat lower). Salad is not cooked so that vital step is missed. If someone picking that lettuce in the fields had to relieve themselves you might have a very big problem if you eat it.

Thorough cooking kills pretty much everything that can hurt you, when the temperature of the food falls below the temperature that kills bad stuff bacteria and pathogens still present multiply and double about every 20 minutes. Warm food is the sweet spot where bacteria grow and pathogens multiply best. That is about the temperature of most buffets.

If you want to eat at a buffet stay away from the salad bar and watch as they put out new stuff that is cooked. Get the fresh stuff that is still hot. It is much safer. Better yet, learn to handle food safely and eat at home.

I don't always follow my own advice. I like eating out and do a few times a week. Going out to eat can be risky, but it is a risk I am willing to take. There is almost notihing anyone can do that doesn't involve at least a little bit of risk. Besides, you will look real stupid laying around dying of nothing.

Posted by: jeffieboy

April 29, 2013 at 3:17 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

jeffieboy is generally correct here. Of course, a lot of the information he conveys is, regardless of where he got it, available on the Internet and so is of no value.

RE "If you want to eat at a buffet stay away from the salad bar..."
Or reduce your risk by using lots of vinaigrette. Vinegar kills many strains of food-borne bacteria. Salt generally increases vinegar's effectiveness.

RE "I don't always follow my own advice."
I'm with you on that. I take everything in moderation, including moderation.

RE "Besides, you will look real stupid laying around dying of nothing."
In case being scrupulously healthy doesn't make you happy: it is better to die happy than die healthy.

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 29, 2013 at 4:46 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

It may be available on the internet but I didn't get it there. I went to UA to learn to write food safety HACCP plans and have written many of them. (Don't worry, I did manage to avoid being indoctirnated with progressive liberal philosophies while there.).

Some states have a special restaurant association certification program for food service businesses. If you visit there and they have "passed" certification you will see a cool little sticker on the door that gives you confidence in the fact that the establishment has demonstrated high standards of employee training and employees demonstrated high levels of performance in food handling and food safety. There are few establishments around here that would come close to those; but it's OK, most people are pretty resiliant and we're not dying in droves from eating out.

Just because I can find information about the program in other states on the internet doesn't make it untrue. There is probably a ton of it out there if you care to look. But I didn't pick it off the internet. I learned about it at a professional conference, have visited other states and seen the cute little stickers with my own eyes. That is what I consider to be credible personal experience.

That is one little step more internet addicts should take. Verification is important. Making assumptions based only on what you can find on the internet will often get you a "French model" wearing a fanny pack.

Even a deaf, dumb, and blind kid can be a pinball wizard if he actually plays the game hands on. Hehehehe!!!

Posted by: jeffieboy

April 29, 2013 at 6:26 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

I was in a local Walmart last month buying some tamarind beans (legumes) to use as a flavoring for homemade chocolates. As I was carefully selecting an aging fellow, 60ish, with thick glasses and a dirty t-shirt popped up beside me asking "What are those?"

Before I could answer he had grabbed a bean, stuck it in his mouth and bit off a small piece of the end. "Hmm" he said, tossed the bean back into the bulk bin and left. I did happened to notice which bean, removed it to the floor.

You can easily see if a strawberry, apple or plum has been bitten into but with a tamarind, not so much since they're often in broken or cracked pieces.

From time to time at food buffets you will see a youngster sampling a dish or two with their fingers.

Posted by: cdawg

April 29, 2013 at 7 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

RE "But I didn't pick it off the internet. I learned about it at a professional conference"
jeffieboy believes information from liberal government sources (like the FBI or CDC, or the Department of Health) when he hears it in person, but not when it is posted on the Internet-- even though the people who say things in person and the people who put it online have the same political appointees for bosses. In fact, the people who deliver the information in person are probably more liberal than the grunts who keep the websites updated, because they're farther up the totem pole and more directly under the influence of those political appointees who make things so liberal. (Was that professional conference one of those liberal "emphasis" things you complained about a while back?)

RE "That is one little step more internet addicts should take. Verification is important."
Interesting advice from a guy who vaunts his own "original thought"-- which by his own admission is unverified-- and rejects information out of hand because he distrusts the source, without verifying anything. I almost always refer to raw data from its original source-- the same raw data that everybody, including conservatives, has available for formulating "original thoughts"-- and I cross-reference it when possible. In other words, I verify as much as possible. When I refer to secondary sources, I use sources that attribute their own sources, and I verify them. Pull that log from your own eye, then get back to me.

RE "Just because I can find information about the program in other states on the internet doesn't make it untrue."
Behaviorists and addiction therapists would call this a "breakthrough".

RE "Even a deaf, dumb, and blind kid can be a pinball wizard if he actually plays the game hands on."
And if we were playing pinball, you'd have a point. Motor skills, muscle memory and fine tactile acuity are one thing. Forming useful opinions on things you refuse to know about is quite another.

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 29, 2013 at 11:01 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

I like the plan they had when I visited CA a few years back, and Jeffie alludes to in his post. Eating establishments posted their grades from the inspectors in the window, best being "A". I never saw anything below a "C." It made choosing a place easier, and would probably be a pretty good motivator for the places to clean up their act(s).

Posted by: Dellmann

April 30, 2013 at 7:32 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

There are a lot of people selling food. Some are professional, some are not. Some follow good santary protocols and some have no idea about them. It is not unique and is everywhere.

I've seen slaughtered critters laying around on hot days of 100 degrees in the open air in Asia without refrigeration of any kind yet people manange to eat the stuff and not die.

I stopped eating in a restaurant in France when the chef came out to look around the dining room wearing an apron that certainly hadn't been washed in weeks.

I've also seen pristine kithcens that were probably as sanitary as some operating rooms in hospitals.

I don't think anyone selling food knowingly wants to make anyone sick or cause harm. Some just don't kow better. When you eat out you just gotta take your chances they know what they're doing.

Taken together things aren't as bad as many think and not as bad as government inspectors often assert. If they were we would all be deathly sick, dying, or dead by now.

Posted by: jeffieboy

April 30, 2013 at 12:41 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Craig's Bar-B-Q in DeVall's Bluff was famous when I started eating there some fifty years ago. For a number of those years, they had a dirt floor and the windows had so much smoke, grease and dead fly accumulation that you couldn't see through them. It is much cleaner now, and the barbecue there is still good, but that is due to skill and diligence, not cleanliness. Obsessive cleanliness and proper barbecue are at cross purposes; I for one, would far rather eat good barbecue at a dive than mediocre barbecue in hospital conditions.

Come to think of it, I've seen hospitals that are dirtier than most restaurants.

Posted by: AlphaCat

April 30, 2013 at 2:56 p.m. ( | suggest removal )