September 25, 2012

Portland inspects 49 restaurants, 39 fail

Records also indicate that with 800 Portland eateries to monitor, the health inspector struggles to keep up with the workload.

By Randy Billings rbillings@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

Today's Poll: Restaurant Inspections

Are you less likely to visit a restaurant that has failed a health inspection?

Yes

No

View Results

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Harbour's Edge, the Comedy Connection, and the Porthole Restaurant were shut down Friday, September 14, 2012, by the Portland Health Inspector for what she cited as rat infestation, flies on food, drains going into the ocean, and other violations.

Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

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"It's not unique to Portland," she said. "It's the whole state, as far as education goes."

Sturgeon has been focusing her inspections on restaurants that have drawn complaints and those that are new or under new ownership.

As of Tuesday, 16 of her inspections had been based on complaints, and 20 had been for new owners or restaurants.

Sturgeon said a restaurant could have 13 violations, including three or fewer critical infractions, and pass inspection. A critical violation is defined by state law as likely to pose a risk for contamination or illness, or an imminent health risk.

If more than 13 violations are cited, she said, the restaurant fails. It may remain open if enough violations can be corrected immediately. If they can't, she said, the restaurant is deemed a health hazard and must close until the violations are corrected.

Three restaurants have been closed in the last year because of violations, including the Porthole, which was shut for three days last week for a "serious rat infestation," among many other violations.

Buffalo Wings-N-Things was deemed an imminent health hazard on Aug. 31, after an inspection prompted by a complaint received the previous day from someone who claimed to have gotten sick after eating fried chicken that was red inside.

Sturgeon wrote in the report that she couldn't confirm the complaint, but she noted "improper cooling of chicken."

The four-page inspection report details 23 violations, including eight critical. It notes the presence of flies, door gaps in need of sealing, and a need for "major cleaning."

Smoking apparently was allowed on the restaurant's patio, in violation of state law, and two Raid cans were discovered inside, according to the report. "No self-application of pesticide," Sturgeon noted.

No one answered the phone at Buffalo Wings-N-Things on Thursday. An answering machine said the restaurant was closed. The business sign outside has been taken down, and the windows have been covered with paper.

Passage to India was deemed a health hazard and closed in November, after an inspection prompted by a complaint. A copy of the complaint form was not included with the report.

The four-page report notes 28 violations, including eight critical. The critical violations included a moldy ice machine and other dirty appliances, employees not wearing hair restraints, and pots and boxes of oil on the floor. A pest inspection also was needed, according to the report.

The restaurant failed a follow-up inspection seven days after the initial report but was allowed to reopen with conditions. That inspection noted 16 violations, including flies. Three violations were corrected immediately. Eight were repeats from the previous inspection, including undated/unlabeled food and dirty cutting boards.

The restaurant failed another follow-up inspection, on Dec. 3. Ten violations were noted, seven of which were repeat violations, including a blocked hand-washing station, using wet cloths without sanitizer, food stored on the floor and a moldy ice machine.

A follow-up inspection was scheduled for June, but there is no record that it occurred.

Mohamed Hosain, owner of Passage to India, said Thursday that the restaurant, where he said business has been slow, has corrected the issues identified by the inspection reports.

"Everything now is OK," he said.

Staff Writer Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at:

rbillings@mainetoday.com

Twitter: @randybillings

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Today's Poll: Restaurant Inspections

Are you less likely to visit a restaurant that has failed a health inspection?

Yes

No

View Results