Florida Chinese restaurant cited for over 50 violations including sewage in the kitchen

Maintaining a food safety culture means that operators and staff know the risks associated with the products or meals they produce, know why managing the risks is important, and effectively manage those risks in a demonstrable way.1401931936000-Still0604-00000

In an organization with a good food safety culture, individuals are expected to enact practices that represent the shared value system and point out where others may fail. With over 50 violations according to WTSP in St. Petersburg, FL, the food safety culture at China Pearl ain’t so good.

Inspectors showed up last month after receiving a complaint about food borne illness from two customers who ate at the restaurant. Once inside, they found 53 violations, including employee’s not washing their hands then touching ready-to-eat foods without wearing gloves.

They also found sewage backing up through the floor drains (seems like this is the riskiest thing going on, sewage in the kitchen is bad news -ben), a foul odor coming from the restroom, temperature violations on the fried chicken and cooked pasta, and rodent activity. More than 300 rodent droppings were reportedly found in an upstairs storage area.

10 News stopped by to see if conditions have improved. Manager Dan Fang Zhu let us take a look around, but we found plenty of remaining issues. The main hand washing sink was blocked by fried chicken, potato starch, and a bag of rice. Worse yet, there was no splash guard to protect all the food stored nearby, which was a repeat violation written up by the state (“worse yet” is a bit of yuck factor over risk factor -ben).

We also spotted uncovered food stored on the floor, both in the walk-in cooler and out in the middle of the kitchen. Back by the mop sink, we found more rodent droppings in the same area the state found problems a week earlier.

Gabrielle Hawkins likes China Pearl’s chicken wings and shrimp fried rice, but she said she made a U-turn when she saw a state health inspector shutting the place down. 

Gabrielle said she plans to warn others and she won’t be back.

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About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.