While reviewing food service inspection reports from last month, Lake County General Health District Director of Environmental Health Nancy Niehus warned that multiple violations don't always equal a bad dining experience.
The district, in compliance with codes from the Ohio Department of Health, seemingly puts more weight on whether those violations are critical and if they are corrected in a timely manner. Niehus' Giant Eagle example showed a three-violation report on the Mentor-on-the-Lake store, but employees fixed those issues on the spot.
Officials view that kind of a response in a positive light, while multiple visits with no progression can prompt inspectors to recommend business owners to take compliance classes.
Here are some of the food service businesses in Mentor where inspectors found multiple violations, including some critical, during February visits. Remember, this is not a full listing of restaurants in city, as businesses are inspected at various times of the year. View an explanation of categories below.
|Business||Category||No. of Violations||Examples||Report Excerpt|
|Fontina's Foods||C3S||12||Date marking of Deli meat not done; Pizza in hot holding case 31 degrees lower than required temperature.||"Violations from 12/5/12 have been addressed.|
|Outback Steakhouse||C4S||2||Tilapia, lobster and scallop being thawed in a non-compliant fashion.||"Repeat violation - this is a disturbing trend and cannot go on."|
|Red Lobster||C4S||6||Scampi/casserole dishes need cleaning; Ice machine has mold by chute||Followed up five days later, restaurant detailed improvement plans.|
|Ruby Tuesday||C4S||3||Buffet foods like spinach, coleslaw and ranch inadvertently heated above required cold temperatures||Two critical violations corrected during visit.|
|Smokey Bones||C4S||7||Smoker room hand sink did not have water on second visit; Temperature logs for pulled pork and asiago cream sauce weren't kept for six months.||Restaurant presented HACCP plans for pulled pork and asiago prior to inspection. Follow up scheduled for late March.|
Based on their size and risk, most restaurants are inspected at least twice a year. There are more than 40 possible violations a food service business can receive.
Above all, Niehus says restaurants in Mentor are generally safe and sanitary. Still, restaurants hand out violations because they are necessary. The need for follow-up visits indicates a more critical violation, though swift action goes a long way. For example, Red Lobster was cited for cracked floor tiles and a cracked walk-in freezer threshold, but responded the next day by informing inspectors of repair appointments.
The food service businesses each carry a category with a numerical ranking that is indicative of the risk the state believes there is for a customer to become ill. Most restaurants receive the highest risk rankings — CS3 or CS4. The "s" stands for small, which is how the state describes most restaurants in the city. Grocery stores are the only food service businesses that would be listed as large.
Restaurants listed as CS4 have the highest risk because of the heating and cooling of foods at those locations, Niehus said. These businesses receive standard inspections and critical point inspections.
The state does not provide letter grades on its reports.