In tonight's Dirty Dining, Darcy Spears gets some answers to an often asked question: Why do inspectors seem to downgrade Asian restaurants more than any other?
Here's how an expert is working with a local business to help change that.
When the going got tough at Thai House restaurant, "I called him right away to come and help me. I need help," Owner Tiffany Tyner explained about why she called on food safety consultant Tim Moulson after suddenly finding herself on her own.
"Her husband basically ran the operation and then he had a sudden passing and it kind of set her back a little bit trying to hang on to the restaurant and look after the personal things," Moulson said.
Thai House had its worst inspection in 15 years on October 1 when the Health District shut down the restaurant on Maryland Parkway and Silverado Ranch with 47 demerits.
It reopened October 5 with a 3-demerit A grade after Tiffany hired Moulson. In addition to running his food safety consulting business, he's also chairman of the Nevada Food Safety Task Force and serves on the board of the Nevada Restaurant Association.
His mission at Thai House? To teach and train the staff in their own language.
"It's not that people don't speak English. They don't comprehend very well so we have to go very slow and repetitive in how we train them and teach them how to do things."
In this case and many others he's handled, Tim works to bridge a cultural sanitation gap.
"I spent 16 years teaching in Asia and I'll tell you, I've seen it all." He says he tell his trainees, "Our standards are to protect everybody--not just the people in your country that may have grown some immunity to that particular strain of bacteria or whatever the case may be. And that's the message I try to get through to them."
Inspectors found Thai House storing open flour, sugar and corn starch in a back outside trailer.
There was excessive grease on ventilation hoods, in-use utensils in lukewarm, standing water and employee keys stored on customers' chili sauce containers.
"Most of the things that were on the report were corrected on site when they pointed it out," said Moulson.
Things like a food handler not cleaning a prep table after preparing raw beef, shrimp being thawed in standing water and no detectable sanitizer in buckets or the dishwasher.
Then, there's the lone roach inspectors saw by the hand sink.
"One could come in on a box of goods," theorized Moulson, or, "A lot of times after treatment the sick roaches come out to die and that's when you end up seeing them in the restaurant. I studied roaches for five years."
Inspectors also found expired beef, chicken, sticky rice and tomatoes, which Tiffany blamed on her staff not changing the labels. She said the labels were expired, not the food.
But some food was compromised like cut lettuce and cabbage stored at room temperature and shrimp and egg rolls uncovered in the freezer.
There were also multiple dirty utensils stored as clean.
Health inspectors told Thai House they needed to see "Thorough and substantial improvement."
"We've been correcting it. We've been fixing it. And we're going to continue doing good," Tiffany promised.
Thai House was one of seven Health District closures.
Sekushi Japanese Grill inside the Paris hotel casino on the strip was shut down October 1 due to a failed re-inspection and multi-generational cockroaches.
Inspectors saw roaches in the back prep area on floors, walls, near drains and on ceilings.
They also saw what was attracting the roaches--excessive dirt and food debris under the prep sink and under refrigerators and the freezer.
There was also dirt and food debris on walls and base coving and in-use utensils were stored in dirty, turbid, melted ice water.
The corporate chef said he fired the facility chef--who was the person in charge--after the failed health inspection.
He said they had already complained to the hotel about the roaches and now have a new pest control schedule and new company.
The sushi bar was not affected. The grill got its A grade back October 4 and the corporate chef promised it won't happen again, emphasizing that they're re-training all cooks and employees.
El Buen Taco truck was shut down October 3 near a construction site at Hualapai and Mesa Park Drive for lack of adequate refrigeration, but it also earned the name 'roach coach' after inspectors saw a cockroach crawling in a food storage bin.
The same #1 truck was shut down in March at a different construction site.
Inspectors saw a food handler use bare hands on ready-to-eat tortillas and found multiple foods in the temperature danger zone including deli ham, shredded cheese and cooked beans and an employee's half-eaten sandwich was sitting on a cutting board next to customer foods.
The operator was required to attend intervention training due to an inspection history of non-compliance. We were unable to reach anyone for comment. It re-opened October 17 with zero-demerits.
A water main break caused three imminent health hazard closures at the Fashion Show Mall: Cartel Takos, India Masala and Subway were all shut down October 3 for operating without water. All reopened the next day with A grades. Subway got zero demerits, Cartel Takos got 3 demerits and India Masala got 8 demerits. We left messages for comment at all the restaurants but did not hear back.
And another Subway--on East Charleston near Nellis--was shut down October 1 for no hot water. Inspectors noted that Subway was not checking hot water temperatures routinely and continued to serve the public under an imminent health hazard. It reopened the next day with a zero-demerit A grade. We left messages for the franchise owner but didn't hear back.
Documents from the Southern Nevada Health District