(Toledo News Now) – You and your kids have to eat every day, but is the food you're putting in your mouth safe?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 75 million people in the U.S. become sick each year from something they ate.
For food to help and not hurt you, it must be handled properly.
Director of the Toledo Restaurant Training Center, Karen Everage, is teaching how to ensure your family will stay healthy at any dining table.
"People who work in the food safety industry are called ‘007.' They have a license to kill and it sounds funny, but if you don't handle food properly, you can really make people severely sick, ill or something more fatal," explained Everage.
Everage says not taking food safety seriously is not only dangerous to the consumer, but also the restaurant.
"Legally, they can be sued. There are a lot of ramifications. You not training your employees - it's just a loss of business ," said Everage.
But again and again, we find restaurants failing to meet the basic safety standards, which apply to every food business.
Take La Paloma on Broadway Street in south Toledo, for example. Inspectors noted improper cooling of pork, flies throughout the facility and exposed bakery items on kitchen shelves.
It sounds simple, but a couple of restaurants this week are guilty of it: Employees not washing their hands because water, soap and sinks are inaccessible. The offenders: Jax Bar and Grill and Sam and Charlie's White Hut in west Toledo.
At Jax Bar and Grill on Dorr Street, inspectors found seven violations, including unused equipment in the facility, no soap or paper towels at the hand sink, and duct tape being used to hold old beer coolers together. Management was ordered to remove carpet mats behind the bar and was told to improve the conditions to avoid harboring pests, which was a repeat violation.
Inspectors found 12 violations at Charlie's White Hut on Central Avenue. Among the violations were rusted screws inside the ice machine, no hand soap available, and no sanitizer bucket for the cook line.
El Nuevo Vallarta on Central Avenue in west Toledo racked up the most violations this week, just shy of 20. A dead fly was found in the ice machine and it's housing dirty silverware, but not that's not all. El Nuevo is at fault for blocking access to a sink, storing tortillas on the ground, and dust is building up on gaskets.
How you store food is just as important as how you cook it.
Mirage Diner on Central Avenue is running intro real problems, earning nine health code violations. Inspectors found no date labels on the food and raw chicken sitting out. The walk-in freezer is broken, so the restaurant operator has been storing food at home. No food can be served from a kitchen that's been stored at a home or any other unlicensed facility.
The Original Pancake House on Central Avenue only received four violations. Inspectors found two sinks inaccessible for hand washing and the restaurant was also caught reheating food in bulk. It's not permitted to cool and reheat.
While many of this week's violations may be considered minor, they can collectively result in major issues for consumers, leaving people, like Everage, trying to maximize the safety of the market.
"If you don't want people to talk about your restaurant, and how you made them sick, and how it's dirty, or it's nasty, or you have a pest problem, those employees need to get training because it's really going to cost your business in the end," said Everage.
Not all restaurants scored poorly this week. A few served up clean reports like Ciao in Sylvania, Boomers Diner in south Toledo and the McDonald's on Conant Street in Maumee.
If you or your employees are in need of a refresher on food safety, sign up for the next class at Toledo's Restaurant Training Center. The center is located at 3450 West Central Avenue, Suite 102 and can be reached at 419-241-5100.
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