Inspectors had a busy time this past week, particularly in the area we're headed to next. Normally we try to cover about 10 zip codes, but that would have produced a novel. Instead, if you live, work or eat in zip codes 77021 to 77023, this is your dirty, grimy day.
At Toni's Café (5270 Griggs) in 77021, a February 11 look found bulk food removed from its original containers or not stored in a containers identifying the food by its common name. The moist cloths used for cleaning nonfood-contact surfaces of equipment, counters, dining table tops or shelves also were not clean, not being used properly, or not stored in sanitizing solution between uses.
Clean utensils or equipment also were not stored at least six inches above the floor in a clean, dry location, or not stored in a manner that would protect them from contamination. The eatery also did not provide its workers with 540 lux of light in their work area.
A February 12 peak at Taqueria La Luz (3200 Telephone Road) in 77023 found the hand-washing sink was not accessible to employees at all times. Also, the compartments of sinks, basins or other receptacles used for washing and rinsing equipment, utensils, raw foods or for laundering wiping cloths were not cleaned before use or throughout the day at a frequency necessary to prevent recontamination of the equipment and utensils.
The working area also was not lit to code, and the floors or floor coverings were not kept clean in the food prep, food storage or utensil-washing areas, the walk-in fridge or the dressing, locker or toilet rooms. The ceilings also were not non-absorbent in those areas. In the back kitchen, in a violation we've not yet run across, the junction between the walls and the floor had an open seam greater than 1/32 of an inch.
In the taqueria at Pancho's Meat Market (6141 Griggs) in 77023, a February 12 inspection found plenty to frown about. The ventilation filters were not cleaned at sufficient frequencies to prevent accumulations. The floors or floor coverings also were not kept clean in the food prep, food storage or utensil-washing areas, the walk-in fridge or the dressing, locker or toilet rooms.
The wall or ceiling was not kept clean. The plumbing was not sized, installed or maintained properly. No sanitary towels or hand-drying devices were conveniently located near each hand-washing or group of two adjacent sinks. There were potentially hazardous foods being stored in a fridge with no numerically scaled thermometer or no accurate indicating thermometer monitoring them. Finally, employees were not wearing effective hair restraint or clothing that covered their body hair while they were handling food or utensils.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.