Health Dept. Roundup: Chicken Edition

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Everybody knows about the threat posed by mad cows. But what of our feathered friends? This is the sick chicken edition.

Sometimes, inspections yield mild hand-slaps, such as Tuesday's inspection of the Kentucky Fried Chicken at 2359 S. Shepherd, where the wall or ceiling was not maintained in good repair.

Others are disappointing but not necessarily stomach-churning. A visit to Hartz Chicken Buffet (6106 Telephone Road) last Friday showed the nonfood-contact surfaces of its equipment were not cleaned as often as necessary to keep the machines free of dust or dirt accumulation. The restaurant's multiuse equipment or utensils also were not constructed, repaired or maintained with safe, corrosion-resistant, nonabsorbent, easily cleanable, durable materials.

Still others really make you wonder about the place. A change-of-ownership inspection at Chicken Kingz (5842 Martin Luther King Blvd.) on Tuesday didn't inspire confidence. The eatery's plumbing was either not sized, installed or maintained properly. The walls in either its cooler, food prep and storage areas, washing area, toilet rooms or vestibule (there's that archaic word again!), were not smooth. Its equipment and utensils not currently in use were stored in unclean conditions or not removed from the premises. Finally, its existing equipment was either not in good repair, not capable of being maintained, not in a sanitary condition or was, god forbid, a food-contact surface that is toxic.

Lastly, there are the bombshell inspections that get your place shut down temporarily. That was the case after a January 7 inspection at Khan Fried Chicken and Seafood (15210 Highway 3, in Webster).

Khan's buffet food not protected from potential contamination by dust, dirt, unclean equipment or utensils, coughs, sneezes, insects, rodents, flooding, drainage, drippage from condensation, overhead leakage, unnecessary handling or toxic materials.

The restaurant's kitchen also notched nine violations, among them: storing bulk food in unnamed containers, keeping food in a cooler with a broken thermometer, faulty plumbing or drains, failing to provide storage for employees' possessions and not separating sleeping quarters from the kitchen with a partition or self-closing door. Crucially, the eatery also was operating without posting a valid food dealer's permit.

Cluck, cluck.

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