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7 Disgusting Health Code Violations Made in Major Chain Restaurants

by Staci Marks on June 7, 2012

Every business in the food industry is subject to regular health inspections, which determine how sanitary the restaurants are and whether or not unsafe conditions in the kitchens pose a risk to potential customers. A restaurant can receive poor scores for simple things, such as if their employees wash their hands in a sink meant for food preparation or they fail to label their bottle of sanitizer. However, occasionally the restaurant will receive marks for such gross misconduct you wonder how they could possibly keep a client base.

  1. Brownsville and Raymondville Restaurants

    Two different restaurants were profiled for South Texas’s Channel 4 New’s Food for Thought, which examines local restaurants in Texas that have committed severe health code violations. The first, a Brownsville Burger King, was in violation and subsequently shut down for having a rat infestation in the children’s play area. During the health inspection, a dead rat was caught on camera right next to the playscape. They have been cited in the past for rodent problems. In Raymondville, the Raymondville Superette was cited for 21 violations. Among them — off-temperature foods, improper hand washing, dirty equipment, rodent contamination, and roaches. The rat droppings were found near food preparation areas and live roaches were found crawling in the sink.

  2. Amazing Restaurant Inspections

    Amazing Restaurant Inspections is a program that reenacts true restaurant health code violations from around the country. Hardee’s, the fast food burger joint, was caught keeping raw chicken in a sink that was overflowing with sewage. A Burger King at the Cleveland airport caught one of their employees urinating onto the floor drain in the kitchen. A McDonalds filled a bottle marked “SANITIZER” with spray butter. At O’Charley’s, cooks were using a loaded garbage can for leverage of their cutting boards to prepare food on, a straw was found in the ice bin, and hair was found in the cheese. A North Carolina McDonalds used the full garbage can as a shelf for their recently cooked fries, so the grease would be able to drip into the bin. In one of Manhattan’s four-star hotels, a mouse was found swimming in the marinade in the kitchen.

  3. Port Richey’s Golden Corral

    Tampa’s ABC Action News’s Dirty Dining segment discussed a Golden Corral restaurant in Port Richey, Florida that violated health code inspections and was shut down for rodent activity. The inspector noted that there were too many rodent droppings in the restaurant to even count. The restaurant has had 130 critical violations and 160 non-critical violations in a 14-month span. Maggots, flies, and garbage littered the alley right outside the back entrance to the restaurant. The droppings themselves were found under all the buffets, under dry food counters, under kitchen baseboards, and under equipment in the kitchen. When health inspectors took temperature readings of the food, they found that beef, plant food, milk, and ice cream mix were all stored over 41 degrees, which could cause illness upon consumption. There was also undercooked chicken at the buffet.

  4. Olean’s Finest Wendy’s

    A teenage employee at a Wendy’s restaurant in Olean, New York documented the grotesque state of his work environment on tape and distributed it out onto the internet for all to see. The Wendy’s was under construction but saw fit to continue to serve customers in spite of excessive dust, a stripped ceiling, and an actual hole in the floor of the kitchen. When he contested the fact that the establishment should not be open in such circumstances, he was suspended for the duration of the construction and then fired for posting the video. Among other disgusting things, he found black mold all over the walls and near the grills and dust entirely covering the coffee cup lids.

  5. Pizza Hut and Waffle House

    A Pizza Hut in Philadelphia received a health code violation for a “large accumulation of mouse feces on pizza boxes.” The inspector also noted a dirty floor, mainly due to the rodent contamination. He caught an employee eating while preparing food for customers, without washing his hands or wearing gloves. All Waffle Houses in Atlanta, Georgia seem to repeatedly score below 80 when receiving their health inspection for constantly making the same critical violations. For example, many of them were cited for personal hygiene problems, such as not washing hands. There were also a great deal of temperature violations, in which food was either cooked, served, or stored at inappropriate temperatures.

  6. Dirty Airport Restaurants

    Several Chicago chain restaurants in the O’Hare and Midway airports were profiled by CBS 2 News for having three years’ worth of critical violation marks on their inspections, reporting problems such as food poisoning, fevers, and E.Coli as a result of an unsanitary food preparation space. Lallo’s, a Mexican fast food chain in the Midway airport, had food surrounded by insects and food stored at improper temperatures. Four-day old beef and egg product were found at unsafe temperatures and had to be disposed of. Cameras also caught employees washing their hands and vigorously shaking off water at the same sink used to serve customers drinking water. At O’Hare, Reggio’s Pizza Express has failed inspections three years in a row for various problems, such as coolers that do not work. The Chili’s in O’Hare has failed four inspections and has received multiple complaints about customers getting sick from burgers due to the presence of E.coli.

  7. Greencastle’s La Charreada

    La Charreada is a Mexican restaurant chain with locations across Indiana. Indianapolis’s Channel 13 News covered the Greencastle location’s major faux pas when restaurant employees were caught gutting a deer carcass in the kitchen. The restaurant was only closed for 48 hours, but many customers have denounced their loyalty to the chain, utterly disgusted by the events. A conservation officer had dropped off the deer, which was effectively road kill, and the employees were slicing meat off the bones from a pan on the floor. The restaurant has been shut down in the past for other critical violations, such as cockroaches in the kitchen and food being stored at incorrect temperatures. In that instance, the restaurant was closed for a day and fined, but allowed to reopen when the issues were addressed.

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