Monday, April 26, 2010

Vendors Operate Under the Same Rules; Health Inspection Reports for Downtown Vendors

Today I wrote a couple stories to help inform people as the city heads into what could be an ugly meeting of the ordinance committee on Wednesday. They should both be in Tuesday's edition of The Bristol Press ( The first deals with how the vendors have to obey the same rules as restaurants when it comes to health inspections. Here's the first bit of it:

The food vendors that sell hot dogs and other items in town must meet the same criteria as restaurants do, according to health officials.
“The things that you would need to meet the public health code in a restaurant, you need the same equipment in these temporary units,” said Chief Sanitarian Phyllis Amodio of the Bristol-Burlington Health District. “They are regulated by us.”

Here's part of a second story I wrote for Tuesday's Press about health inspections at the vendor carts. It's the beginning, then it jumps to what you really want to know -- how did the carts score on their health inspections:

In unannounced health inspections, the city’s itinerant food vendors have a pretty clean record, said Chief Sanitarian Phyllis Amodio of the Bristol-Burlington Health District.
“In the 20 years that I’ve been here, we’ve never had one that’s failed,” said Amodio. “They do a good job.”

The district supplied about 30 inspection reports for vendors that Amodio said were the most recent available.
Of those, 16 showed no deductions for any violations, or perfect scores of 100.
The lowest score was a 91, for Thai Grill that the inspection report said was parked on North Main Street near the courthouse.
“Truck is pretty clean throughout, surfaces are smooth and easily cleanable,” the inspector wrote. Points were deducted for thawing food at room temperature, failing to label all condiments and storing scoops for rice in stagnant water as well as lack of hot water for washing.
El Sabor Latino, also located near the courthouse, scored a 95, with points off for failing to have pump soap at the hand sink and for using one of the bays in the three bay sink for handwashing instead. “Truck is very clean throughout,” wrote the inspector, “good food handling seen.”
Mike’s North Carolina BBQ, another North Main Street vendor, also scored a 95, with points off for failing to label and keep food in original containers, for failing to keep wiping cloths in a sanitizer and for storing utensils in stagnant water. The inspector noted that while food temperatures were okay and the operator had good food handling techniques, he needed to clean surfaces and the sink.
Ken’s Grille, also across from the courthouse on North Main, scored a 97, with points off because shelving, the steamtable and the inside of the refrigerators needed cleaning.
“Operator has been practicing proper handwashing as opposed to glove use,” the inspector wrote of the popular cart. “Proper food handling techniques seen this date. Trailer is a lot cleaner than last inspection.”

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