One of the most unsettling things about eating out has got to be the fact that we have no idea what’s going behind closed doors. I mean who’s preparing our food, and are they even washing their hands?
The livelihood and fate of mankind solely depends on how thorough health inspectors are in conducting inspections. So, to all the health inspectors worldwide…thank you in advance.
Find the original source thread at the end of the article.
My favorite Chinese restaurant got shut down.
My ex-wife worked for the city and I asked her what the problem was. She said the health inspectors found something leaking from the ceiling. They lifted the ceiling tile and shined a flash light and saw multiple eyes staring back at them. It was chickens.
They were raising chickens in the ceiling and chicken crap was dripping in the food that I had been eating at least once a week.
My stepdad used to be a baker in an authentic recreation of an 18th century New French fortress. Because they sell bread to the public, the health inspector came by, and she was ripping into my stepdad for violations like the stonework walls, the doorless entranceways, or the lack of a mosquito zapper.
He pointed out that they were following the highest standards except for things that would destroy the authenticity of this 18th-century bakery. The health inspector relented and agreed to give him a pass after verifying the food storage area was secure. Then, they went to the shed, which was a doorless building attached to the bakery.
As the health inspector went in, there happened to be an escaped cow licking all of the loaves. My stepdad could only say, “Honestly, this never happens.”
They passed the health inspection.
My dad did pest control.
I went to hang out with him one night and he took me to a Chinese food restaurant. When we were done eating, he was lingering over his tea and I was like, “Hey Dad, looks like they’re closing up soon. I think we’re keeping the folks from getting done.” He’s cool and calm, “It’ll be fine.” So we sit. He pays the bill. And we wait.
Finally, they’re shutting off lights out front and I am losing my mind. I’m horrified, embarrassed, and I’m thinking “these poor people.” Finally, finally, my dad stands up and says, “Be right back” and he comes back in, WITH HIS “GEAR.” He proceeds to treat the place “for their rat problem…and the roaches.” He gets me to help him carry and move stuff so he can do his job.
And doesn’t see any problem with this.
My uncle is a health inspector in rural Australia. He got several complaints about a ‘fish ‘n chips’ shop in a small town in Victoria, with reports of it being a bit grotty and people getting chunks of hair in their hot chips.
So he shows up one day unannounced on a blazing hot day in the middle of summer, and the owner greats him and shows him around wearing a white tank top with sweat patches under the arms, short shorts and no shoes. This guys body was covered in hair. Not just on his arms and chest, but his back and neck like a werewolf. Clearly, this must be the source of the hair in the chips. My uncle decides to make a tactful comment about having to wear appropriate clothes when working, so as to protect against hot oil burns.
After seeing the property and giving a few basic suggestions, the only other thing he notices that needs immediate attention is the deep fryer itself. The oil is old and filthy, and likely full of this guy’s hair, so he orders the bloke to drain it out right then and there. The owner does so, and at the bottom of the oil vat is a dead, deep fried and crispy…cat. Totally unbothered, the owner simply said, “oh, that’s where my cat went!”
It turns out a few months prior, the shop was having a rodent problem, so the owner brought in a cat to catch them. He thought the cat escaped overnight and ran away. Nope. Looks like little fluffy drowned in the deep frying oil, and Mr.Chippy has been frying him up over and over and over again ever since. The clumps of hair locals were complaining about weren’t from the half-man-half-wolf owner, but the fur and flesh of a dead cat.
My friend was inspecting a restaurant and walked out the back to find a man stirring a huge pot of curry. With his arm. No spoon or anything, just up to his hairy elbows in curry.
I’m not a health inspector but worked in a restaurant where the managers were good friends with one.
The coffee and ice cream shop next door was shut down out of nowhere and we were all shocked because they were pretty busy. A health inspector came in one day and the manager asked why it was shut down. The health inspector proceeded to tell my manager that he walked in unannounced early one morning before the shop opened, only to find the owner masturbating behind the counter by the ice cream.
My stepmother is the lead health inspector for a decent sized suburban town. While I have never asked what the worst thing she has witnessed as part of her job was, I do know of one instance that was pretty gross.
A truck full of lobsters was travelling down the highway and crashed. The police came, and eventually they towed the truck. As a board of health inspector, my stepmother was consulted to see if any of the lobsters were viable and she told them no, the load is a total loss since there were literally lobsters scattered across the highway covered in dirt, sand, etc.
Fast forward 24 hours and one of the restaurants in town ran a special: twin lobsters for $19.99! Apparently the owner of the trucking and towing company knew the restaurant owner pretty well so they made a deal whereby the restaurant would pay a very discounted price for the ‘road lobsters.’ The restaurant would turn around and illegally serve the lobsters to unsuspecting customers or sell them out of a truck behind behind the restaurant.
I’m not sure what the repercussions were but I think they were shut down for like a week. They closed shortly thereafter and now there’s a new restaurant there. The towing company lost their contract to tow vehicles and semi trucks with the town and state.
Not a health inspector but a related story:
I was a dishwasher at a local restaurant for my first job at 16. One night we were cleaning up after closing as usual. I uncorked my sink just as we wrapped and left to do something else. As I stepped away, the waitress said, “Your sink’s leaking.”
I turned around to find brown sludge pouring out of the bottom of the sink. Not just that one but also the sink in the food prep area. The whole kitchen flooded with what I soon discovered to be sewage, complete with poop-y bits and toilet paper. It rose up so high I was literally ankle deep in crap.
The waitress bailed and called her ex-boyfriend, the cooks climbed like spidermen out of the kitchen, and my manager locked herself in her office. I stood alone, 16-years-old working my first job, and ankle deep in poop with a squeegee in hand. I mopped that kitchen until past midnight.
When I got home, I walked in like I’d been blasted by napalm. The next morning my boss called me in early. The damn restaurant opened the next day and served food like there wasn’t poop everywhere. Heck, when I showed up there was still solid poop in the drains.
My dad was a health inspector and is now retired. Of everything I ever heard, two jump out: He noted the trays at a Chinese restaurant weren’t clean or warm. When he asked the employees, they acknowledged the heating element had failed, but that there was still chemical backup. Somehow, though, it wasn’t hitting the dishes. Then he saw a cockroach crawl out of the washer. Attempting to understand how the dishes were not getting rinsed, he found that it was backed up with cockroaches. They were ‘cleaning’ the trays. They ‘closed for remodelling’ for 3 days, but it was really cleaning up in order to pass inspection before they were allowed to open again.
At a similar restaurant, he asked about a pail on the floor filled with a green substance. “Soup of the day”, they told him. My dad asked what it was, and was told it was scraps. It turned out the bucket was never emptied. The scraps going in roughly equaled the soup going out, which meant that there was stuff in there that had been there for weeks at room temperature, on the floor. My dad had them dump it as he looked on.
A bonus story was when he caught a guy smoking in a kitchen, and exposed the cigarette behind his back with a handshake.
I used to have a job working as an inspector for storage tanks at places like dairies and factories. I went to a cheesecake factory once to test a milk storage tank. It had just been cleaned and was being prepped to be filled with a tanker full of milk. I noticed the floor of the tank was covered in bleach. It turned out, the floor manager couldn’t be arsed to spend the time sucking out the rest of the cleaning fluid used in the cleaning process and, as standard, just filled the tank with milk on top of a dozen gallons of bleach.
My 12 gallon estimate is just that – an estimate. It was a huge milk storage silo (40,000 litres) and roughly half an inch of the floor of the tank was covered in cleaning fluid. The dilutions we’re talking about probably wouldn’t have been harmful or even tastable after being pasteurized and mixed with cheesecake ingredients. But that’s also a guess, and it’s also not the point.
His theory was, that there was enough milk to dilute the bleach to acceptable consumption levels.
I wrote a report and he was promptly fired.
I’m not a health inspector but a Chinese buffet near me was closed down because it got a 0 out of 5 on it’s inspection (mind you, I got food poisoning from there once but I digress.)
The staff just got up, left, locked the door and never went back. All the food was still out and everything. A week later a man was walking his dog past said Chinese buffet and heard a loud buzzing noise. He looked through the window to see hundreds of thousands of flies that had taken over the building as their new home. I was so bad that the pizza shop next door had to close too.
I once discovered a rat infestation in the kitchen of a hospital. They asked me if I could prove my “suspicions.” I pointed out the numerous foodstuffs with 1 to 2 inch circular holes chewed in them, but they didn’t seem convinced.
I then showed them the trail of droppings and footprints coming and going from a hole in the floor drain, but they didn’t seem convinced. I showed them the three dead rats I had discovered under and around equipment. I think they began to believe me at that point.
Citations included rat infestation, and absolutely deplorable cleaning practices.
I had a health inspector tell me this story:
There was a family in which both the elderly mother and a disabled sibling used wheelchairs. Another sibling lived in the house with them and did all the driving and other things. The health department got a phone call from the local wheelchair company. The brother stopped by and picked up a new, custom-built wheelchair for his sister and for his mother, and returned within about 30 minutes, saying that the sister’s wheelchair hadn’t been made to the right specifications; it was too small.
After he left, the staff noticed several roaches on the chair, so the guy I met got a call. Apparently, it was summer (midwest: both hot and humid), and the house was all locked up, with no open windows for ventilation with the curtains drawn. The inspector entered the house and he said it was so stifling hot that he started to get dizzy, and, he thought, hallucinate. He said that there was a sound like leaves rustling in the fall, and the walls and floors were kind of vibrating.
He then realized it was because they were literally covered in roaches. He immediately evacuated the three people living there, and the next day, they tented and sprayed the house.
He went in (in a Tyvek suit and knee-high rubber boots) and said that the dead roaches were about two and a half feet deep in most parts of the house.
Two years ago a colleague in my department under food safety went to inspect a Chinese in a local town.
Everything was going okay (as okay as food hygiene inspections go for a better-than-average Chinese restaurant) until she went to inspect the space upstairs above the kitchen. Our policy is that where employees stay (if it’s in the same building) is part of the premises. When she went up, she found a large number of illegal immigrants staying there.
The police were alerted and the place was closed down before reopening under another name (I think registered under the owner’s wife’s name). Another quick new premises inspection followed and it got a hygiene rating of 4 out of 5, which for the type of premises is about as good as you’d expect and it was left alone for two years.
Fast forward to last week, another colleague went to inspect the premises for their bi-annual routine inspection. You’ll never guess what the police were called for again…