A mouse in Massachusetts: Check, please

The Telegram & Gazette reports from Worcester, Massachusetts – always from Worcester, as the Coast Guard types attempted to rescue the stranded sailors in the movie, A Perfect Storm (and it was actually Gloucester) – that Robert Vanzant had just sat down to a meal at the Happy and Lucky Super Buffet on Mill Street last year when he saw a most unappetizing sight — a mouse darting across the floor under the tables.

Then he saw another one.

“They were running through the whole store. I didn’t finish. I made them give my money back,” Mr. Vanzant recalled. “The girls who work there were running around and screaming.”

Mr. Vanzant, who lives in Sutton, called in a complaint to the Worcester Board of Health from his cell phone that day in March 2009.

Two days later, in response to Mr. Vanzant’s call (that’s responsiveness – dp), a city restaurant inspector visited Happy and Lucky and found numerous violations of the state sanitary code. His handwritten list of violations covered more than three pages.

In addition to instructing the restaurant to clean and sanitize almost every surface in the kitchen, the inspector noted in his list of requirements: “Remove cockroach infestation throughout the establishment.”

Five months later, in response to another complaint, this time about a cockroach in lo mein, a city inspector returned to the restaurant.

“Inspected establishment and found cockroaches throughout the buffet tables and found the kitchen in unsanitary conditions,” the inspector noted in his report.

While the majority of the city’s roughly 1,300 restaurants, markets, convenience stores, bakeries and other holders of food permits get high marks for cleanliness and food safety, a Telegram & Gazette review of thousands of pages of routine and complaint inspection reports found that a number of establishments fail to meet the most basic health requirements.

So at what point will the inspectors shut these places?

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of barfblog.com, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, barfblog.com retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 dpowell29@gmail.com 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time