Dicey Dining Part Two: What constitutes a low score?

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Most people love to eat away from home. Frankly, it’s more convenient for many people.

However, are the restaurants people frequent doing everything they can to make sure every meal is safe?

When WIAT 42 News scanned the most recent restaurant scores from the Jefferson County Department of Health, Sneaky Pete’s in Gardendale impressed with a score of 100.

Yet, the Waffle House on 20th Street South in Birmingham’s Five Points Area has some areas to work on after receiving the lowest score, a 77.

WIAT 42 News wanted to hear from Waffle House to get their side of the story since their score was much higher in November when they earned a 91.

Yet, after walking inside and talking to them personally and then calling them again to give them a second chance, a Waffle House manager told WIAT 42 News their corporate stance was not to respond.DDstorybutton

Since Waffle House wouldn’t talk, WIAT 42 News’ Trent Butler talked with Kevin Tolbert from the Department of Health to explain some of the common violations that substantially reduce its inspection score.

At the top of the page was a big deduction that cost Waggle House five points.

“The employee was handling the beverage items while eating and failed to wash their hands,” said Tolbert. “So, they were eating and they didn’t go and wash their hands after they went to work.”

Waffle House failed to meet the standard of another critical item that cost them five points: maintaining potentially hazardous food at 135 degrees Fahrenheit or above.

“This particular restaurant had chili and sausage gravy that was not in the proper temperature,” Tolbert said. “It should be 135 and above. So, what the inspector did was voluntarily make them discard the food.”

The restaurant was also deducted five points for not properly washing, rinsing and sanitizing contaminated equipment and utensils as often as necessary to prevent the accumulation of soil.

“They had some containers on the drain board that were not clean, and just basically, not your utensils being cleaned often enough, and so it was a violation there,” Tolbert said.

Waffle House was also cited for seven minor violations. Based on other food inspector comments, Waffle House needed to clean the dish washer, and one employee was reminded that she has to wear gloves if she’s going to handle food with artificial nails.

All in all, ten violations and 23 points deducted resulted in a total score of 77.

To view restaurant inspection scores from around the WIAT 42 News viewing area, click here.

Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News

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