No thats not the title of a new Godzilla movie, but “Deep Fried Rodan” could be.
My friends in journalism say news goes in cycles. If that is so, this must be the year of the creepy crawly restaurant.
Today I see on the TV news the shocking video (a frame of which is shown above) of the Kentucky Fried Chicken combo Taco Bell in New York City’s Greenwich Village that has been taken over by rats and closed down by the health department.
What’s in those buckets anyway? Just kidding, and the trademark bucket in the picture above had a little help using Photoshop. But it makes you wonder just how many restaurants in America are as bad as this?
Oddly, it was exactly one year ago today that we had the China Star meltdown, where police and fire responders to a burglar alarm found a restaurant so incredibly filthy and pest ridden, it defied description.
In his ER article last year, reporter Ari Cohn and Chico PD officer Melody Davidson’s incident report did an admirable job in conveying the heebie jeebies via the written word to anyone whom ever ate there. Today reading the news reports online and then seeing the videos, it was “like Deja Vu all over again”.
I wrote a letter to the editor last year suggesting we need to have color coded health inspection reports posted in the entrance of every restaurant showing its last inspection status. Green for Pass, Yellow for some minor violations, and Red for get the heck outta there ! I still think its a good idea.
Some progress has been made, as now you can get inspection reports online at Butte County’s Health Department. Here is the link: http://www.buttecounty.net/Default.aspx?tabid=312
Reading through the list of inspection reports at the Butte Health Dept website, I was surprised to learn that even some well known and considered “classy” Chico restaurants had some major violations in the last year. If you eat out a lot, this website is worth a look. Any enterprise that sells packaged food, serves food or food samples, including school cafeterias, coffee houses, country clubs, fraternal clubs, and even liquor stores get inspected by the County Health Department.
Here’s a surprising fact: Indian Casinos and their restaurants are exempt from inspections, because tribal operations are considered their own sovereign nation. That may be so, but I think any place that could potentially make people sick through sloppy food handling shouldn’t get a free pass on a legal technicality.