Health Department Roundup: Home Foods Racks Up 20 Violations in One Visit

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I had to do a little detective work this week to get background info on one of the worst health code violators I've ever seen. And by detective work, I mean walking over to Katharine Shilcutt's desk and tapping her on the shoulder until she took her headphones off, rolled her eyes and asked What is it this time?

This time I wasn't looking for advice on what kind of shoes would not look bad. I needed information on a place called Home Foods (9801 Bissonnet). It racked up an impressive 20 violations and a temporary closure order during an inspection this week, but it has no online presence. I told Shilcutt it's in the same center as Finger Licking Bukateria and the Southwest Farmers Market. She knew the place. Home Foods, which might have changed its name recently, is an African food store, and she's shopped there before despite reservations about the facility's cleanliness.

Still, she could barely believe the violation list. We decided our favorite was "Operating a food establishment without hot and/or cold running water." After that, much of the rest was unsurprising: effective pest control measures not utilized; no covered waste receptacle in the toilet room (which somehow exists without running water); hand-washing sink not accessible to employees at all times (again, the water thing); food either spoiled or mislabeled; no suitable dispensing utensils; food stored too close to the floor; food not protected from contamination; dirty non-food-contact surfaces; dirty floors, walls and ceilings; no covered outdoor waste receptacle; potentially hazardous food not held at proper temperatures; and, believe it or not, no properly certified manager on duty.

Moving on to happier news, Westbury Little League's concession stand (5300 Dryad) is completely clean! Celebratory Jell-O shots at Cozy Corner for everybody.

Raising Cane's (7531 Westheimer) earned a citation thanks to two violations -- no certified manager on duty, and containers not closed between servings. Meanwhile, Southern Maid Donuts & Kolaches (9401 Clay) did not get cited, despite three repeat violations: no certified manager on duty; food either spoiled or mislabeled; and no thermometer "in the warmest part of the facility storing potentially hazardous foods." Also, Home Foods is not listed as having been issued a citation. We're not going to think too hard on that.

Moving up in price point, The Tasting Room (1101 Uptown Park) earned four violations: Ice machine not set up in a way that prevents contamination (repeat violation, corrected on site); grease deposits or accumulated soil on food-contact surfaces of cooking equipment (corrected); no hand-drying device located next to each sink (corrected); and food that was either spoiled or mislabeled. Rice Epicurean Market (12516 Memorial) had the same ice machine issues, and also got written up for not using effective pest control measures; having openings to the outdoors that could allow pests to enter; and food-contact surfaces, equipment or utensils not clean to sight or touch.

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