LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A new message is now accompanying every restaurant inspection the Southern Nevada Health District performs.
The last page of each inspection reminds restaurants that SNHD “is working with its community partners to ensure there are strong public health measures in place to respond to COVID-19.”
Part of that process is ensuring the highest health and sanitation standards during the pandemic.
When a restaurant doesn’t do its part, that’s where Dirty Dining comes into play.
A customer complained to the Health District on March 23 about Sun’s Thai Food and Jerky on Craig and Decatur. The complainant wrote about a “dirty restroom, restaurant not clean overall, slimy substance on noodles.”
The health inspector couldn’t validate the complaint when he went to follow up, but a routine inspection is part of every complaint investigation and that didn’t go too well for Sun’s Thai. It got a 36-demerit C grade on its March 23 inspection.
Inspectors found critical handwashing violations. An employee didn’t wash their hands after touching dirty utensils and failed to wash before putting on gloves. Sun’s Thai Owner Pitch Pukdee says that employee has been re-educated.
A container of tom yum sauce had an expiration date of July 2019. One container of coconut milk expired in February and another container expired earlier in March. Pad Thai noodles had a Jan. 19 use-by date. All were found in the fridge and the owner threw them out, but told 13 Investigates only the labels were expired, not the food.
Inspectors found raw beef at an unsafe temperature and beef and cream cheese for crab rangoon left unattended and out of temperature on a prep table.
Raw chicken, beef, pork and fish were stored over ready-to-eat food in the fridge and several containers of food and sauces had to be thrown out after inspectors found them uncovered and unlabeled.
An employee moved items from the floor directly to a food contact surface.
An employee drink sat on a prep surface where beef was being prepped and an employee cell phone sat on another prep surface.
Rice noodles sat thawing at room temperature and shrimp was thawing in standing water in its original bag in the prep sink.
There was also no one in charge when the inspector arrived, but the owner says he’s fixed that and there is now always a person in charge on the premises.
Numerous containers of food were not properly date-labeled and/or mislabeled with wrong dates in the fridge and make table.
Bottom shelves near the wok station were lined with food-stained foil.
Clean pans were stored on a dirty surface and the stove, walls and equipment were all heavily soiled with grease, dust and food debris build-up.
Inspectors say the entire kitchen floor needed a deep cleaning.
Pukdee said there was only one person in the kitchen and he couldn’t handle deep cleaning but after the wake-up call provided by the health inspection, Sun’s Thai got to work quickly and was back to a zero-demerit A grade on March 27.
Pukdee wants to thank his customers for their support knowing it’s hard for everyone right now. He says he watches Dirty Dining all the time and is thankful for the service it provides to our community. He apologized for the violations and says they’re doing their best, taking things day by day in these uncertain times.
Fresh and Less market deli on Owens and H street was downgraded to a C for gross, unsanitary conditions but also shut down March 23 for a multi-generational cockroach infestation.
Inspectors found live roaches inside the prep cooler next to the grill and crawling on the wall next to the hand sink. The cooler unit was in disrepair allowing cockroaches to nest inside it.
Other violations included BBQ chicken, fried chicken and cooked rice at unsafe temperatures that had to be thrown out, no available sanitizer during active food prep and a cutting board that was deeply grooved and stained.
Fresh and Less’ deli was re-inspected on March 31 and received a 3 demerit A grade.
Store Manager Ahmed Carter disputed the health inspector’s findings and downplayed the roach situation, claiming there was only one dead roach in a unit they’d just bought.
Carter said he’s been doing his best to help his disadvantaged community during the pandemic, including buying 3,000 pounds of rice and giving it away free to customers in 1-pound bags. He says he’s keeping prices low on stuff like water so as not to gouge his community, adding that he “comes from a poor family and knows what it’s like to eat bread and water.”
Click here to see the health report for Sun's Thai Food and Jerky.
Click here to see the health report for Fresh and Less Market Deli.