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Keep Houston Press Free
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Health Dept. Roundup

Here's our weekly foray into the deliciously seedy world of Houston health inspections. Delicious in the figurative sense. Anyway, let's get started: Poparazzi's Popcorn (8236 Kirby), a shop near Reliant that specializes in flavored - you guessed it - popcorn, racked up a couple of violations during a Tuesday inspection. There was dirt on non-food-contact surfaces, employees just popping and flavoring away with little regard as to where their hair might be going, and a lack of properly functioning floor drains. The worst was a repeat violation for "manual cleaning sinks not cleaned prior to use." On the other hand, this is popcorn, and heat kills everything, right? In the same way that city health inspectors kill buzzes.

A Subway in the same building as Poparazzi's (hey, we just now got that play on words!) racked up three violations. Two were corrected on site - a lack of storage space for employees' possessions and improperly cleaned wiping rags. They'll have to work on getting that hand-washing sink back online, though. Just like the inspectors probably need to work on not filling up on popcorn and thereby eliminating the possibility that they'll make it more than 30 feet before saying, "Wait, we really have to do another inspection today?"

Perry and Sons Market and Grille (12830 Scarsdale) was hit for not keeping potentially hazardous food at proper temperatures, not keeping non-food-contact surfaces free of dirt, having improperly designed or maintained utensils, and not sealing openings to the outside that could potentially let insects in. Or, let in an enterprising health inspector who begins a surprise inspection by crawling through an insect hole from the outside, clucking his tongue and writing the first citation of the day. This is how it happened in our head.

Sort of ironic violation of the week: After a change in ownership, Middle East Halal Meat Mart (9651 Bissonnet) was written up for a number of violations, both in the kitchen and the meat prep room. (The produce section passed with no citations.) Violations included a lack of a hand-washing sink, improperly stored utensils, improperly constructed floors, dirty vents and poor lighting. Sorry, we missed the part in the Koran that specifies halal meat must be prepared in an area illuminated by 50 foot-candles of light. Actually, we missed nearly all of the Koran. And Torah. And Bible. See you in hell, health inspector.

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