Since May of 2011, the Cerro Gordo County Health Department has responded to at least three complaints at the restaurant, located at 500 South Taft Avenue in Mason City, and the last inspection performed on January 11, 2012 wasn’t exactly stellar.
The inspection notes from the health department after each complaint went like this:
May 4, 2011: “Complaint about hot food not being at temp.Hot food on the buffet was at temp today. Talked about Sushi and how it was prepared. Rice is cooked, sugar and vinegar is added, sushi is made while the rice is warm and then held in the walk in cooler and added to the cold buffet line as needed. The fish that is used is grilled eel and imitation crab legs, both purchased from Asian Foods and arrive frozen. Other products used in the sushi are the wrap, which is seaweed, pieces of vegetables such as carrotts, lettuce, avocado. Sushi is made each morning. Sushi is thrown out if some if left at the end of the day.”
August 3, 2011: “A COMPLAINT WAS RECEIVED ON 8/1/2011 FROM A CUSTOMER WHO HAD A FLY IN HER GENERAL TSO CHICKEN (HOT AND SPICEY). THE CUSTOMER HAD EATEN LUNCH ON 8/1/2011. THE OWNER OF THE RESTAURANT WAS AWARE OF THE COMPLAINT AND DID OBSERVE THE FLY IN THE FOOD—-DURING THE INVESTIGATION THERE DID NOT APPEAR TO BE A FLY ISSUE AT THE FACILITY: THE SANITATION OF THE FACILITY WAS REASONABLY WELL; GARBAGE CONTAINMENT WAS NOT AN ISSUE; THE BACK DOOR FIT WELL AND WAS SCREENED; AND A FLY STRIP WAS PROPERLY LOCATED. SEE NOTES ABOVE REGARDING THE FRONT DOOR.”
October 6, 2011: “A report was called into our office that 3 persons got sick after eating together at this facility. They ate on 10-2-11 at 11:30 and called our office on 10-6-11. No food was left over and no employee’s have been sick. Good temperatures today. A routine inspection was conducted with the owner present. Suhsi is made each day for the buffet. All contents are kept cold, to include the rice.”
On January 11, 2012, a health department inspector completed a routine inspection and found two critical items:
9) Good hygienic practices(S) – Eating, drinking or using tobacco 2-401.11, p 45
Open beverage in the prep area. All beverages must have a lid.
27) Food contact surfaces(S)
Food contact surfaces, characteristics 4-101.11, p 101
Using dishes to scoop food without a handle. All scoops must have a handle. Plastic container need to be washed. Clean the milk holders inside the cooler.
The inspection also revealed five non-critical items:
11a) Food Protection
Misc. sources of contamination 3-307.11, p 72
Food is uncovered in the walk in cooler and freezer.
27) Food contact surfaces(S)
In-use utensils, between use storage 3-304.12, p 65
28) Non-food contact surfaces
Nonfood-contact surfaces not clean 4-601.11(C), p 129, 4-602.13, p 133
Filters need cleaning.
31) Adequate pest control(S)
Outer openings, protected 6-202.15, p 170
Back door has space to allow rodent entry.
34d) Inside physical facilities designed/maintained
Personal care items, storage 7-209.11, p 187
Misc items are stored outside and need to be cleaned up
These inspections come on the heels of a July 12, 2010 inspection with numerous violations. That report stated that “facility will be re-inspected on Thursday July 15 and if all violations and cleaning are not corrected then the facility will close until corrections are made.”
More violations were found on July 15, 2010 but the restaurant remained open. The report stated “Nice job of correcting violations and cleaning. This facility is to remain clean at all times and temperatures are to be checked every 2 hours on the buffet. If during the next regular inspection numerous violations are found, then the facility will be closed until the food code requirements can be followed.”
To see all the latest inspection reports for China Buffet in Mason City, click here.