5 sick from Salmonella: Idaho restaurant closed

The Central District Health Department on Thursday suspended the food establishment license of a Boise restaurant linked to five cases of Salmonella poisoning.

Pho-Tam-Pho-Tai-Bo-VienPho Tam, located at 1098 N. Orchard St., was shut down after health inspectors found two critical violations of food safety regulations and two other violations.

“Due to the violations identified today, we determined they were not demonstrating proper practices to prevent foodborne illness so we suspended their food establishment license,” health department spokeswoman Christine Myron said in an email sent to The Idaho Statesman.

In her email, Myron did not identify the specific violations discovered Thursday. She was out of the office and not available for questioning late Thursday afternoon.

No one answered the phone at the restaurant early Thursday evening.

The closure order came just a day after health department officials held one-on-one education training with the Vietnamese restaurant’s employees on proper food safety procedures.

Pho Tam, which has operated since 2010, has 15 days to contact the health department to request a compliance conference to discuss with owner Long Doan the major risk factors that were found and develop a plan to control the risk factors that could make customers sick.

At an inspection last June, health inspectors found five violations, two of them critical. The restaurant was written up for inadequate hand-washing facilities for workers and improper cleaning and sanitizing of food contact surfaces, both critical violations. The other violations dealt with thermometers, dishwashing machinery and the restaurant’s physical facilities.

KTVB visited Pho Tam Thursday, and the owners were on scene. They declined to talk on camera about the suspension of their license and, in fact, told our reporter on scene that the restaurant was closed for renovation.