Health Department Roundup

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City health inspectors checked out nearly 100 facilities last week, yet issued only one citation and required no temporary closures. We've been doing this column for weeks - literally weeks - and have never seen such an absence of punitive measures. Why so compassionate lately, inspectors?

The Black Eyed Pea (4211 Bellaire) near the railroad tracks that separate Bellaire from West U and Southside Place (the street signs are different colors; the people are not) was the unlucky recipient of the lone citation. The restaurant racked up eight violations, including cold storage that wasn't cold enough, a lack of thermometer in a storage area, improper utensils, excessively absorbent floors in at least on section of the facility, accumulated dust/dirt/particles, and an improperly installed or dirty ice machine (probably not slime, as this was corrected on site). Also, the person in charge was not able to demonstrate knowledge of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point principles. HACCP? Looks a lot like CCCP. I'm sure the Pea's manager is shamed that he or she did not learn the department's core principles by heart, comrades.

We're surprised New Orleans Cajun Po-Boy (6002 Antoine) didn't get a ticket, considering a few of the nine violations the north-side sandwich shop earned seem serious (though, to be fair, you can't always tell). Those include single-use articles being reused; toxic/poisonous materials not stored below food-related stuff to prevent contamination; food stored in unclean or uncovered containers; and lack of hairnets on employees who, for whatever reason, need them. Maybe the lenience was a lagniappe. Good on you, inspectors.

The Heights Food Mart (130 Heights), a convenience store behind a gas station near Heights and Washington, earned eight violations last Thursday. That included three repeats: not enough light near self-serve/food areas; improperly labeled food; and "Single-service/single-use articles not handled/displayed/dispensed properly to prevent contamination of surface which may come in contact with food/mouth of user." First-time violations include single-use articles not stored at least six inches above ground; dirty bathrooms without properly fitting doors; and a lack of hand towels near bathroom sinks. It's so important to try new things.

Fun fact of the week: If you look at a map of West U, the city's boundaries form the outline of a little house. It's a stencil-square shape and made of boring red brick, and it costs $800,000, probably.

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