FARMINGTON — The recent closure of the Fortune Fountain Chinese restaurant for at least 30 days because of repeated health code violations highlights how the state agency overseeing inspections enforces food safety regulations.

The closure last week stems from numerous violations cited against the restaurant spanning 11 state health inspections there since Jan. 24, 2011, according to Lisa Roy, manager for the Maine Center for Disease Control’s Health Inspection program.

This is the first mandatory 30-day closure ordered by Roy statewide since she took over as the program’s manager in 2008. It involves a temporary suspension of the restaurant’s license that may become permanent if the violations are not corrected, she said.

Other health inspections that found excessive violations during this period resulted in owners voluntarily closing an establishment to fix problems, which typically lasts a few days, Roy said.

This happened, for instance, previously at Fortune Fountain because of several violations cited in a November health inspection, she said.

That voluntarily closure was resolved because the restaurant owners met the deadlines to correct critical violations required to reopen, Roy said. Since then, however, new complaints filed about the restaurant prompted further inspections and the closure, she added.


A sign in front of the 605 Wilton Road restaurant reads “closed for renovations.” A woman was painting the entranceway Friday afternoon. Another woman, who would not give her name or answer questions, said the restaurant is under new management and ownership by Henry Chen. He did not return a request for comment Friday.

There was no answer Friday at a phone number for a restaurant representative, Lottie Chan, listed in state health inspection reports.

The most recent inspection report cited nine critical and 15 non-critical violations and issued an imminent health hazard finding May 1.

Among the most recently cited violations, an inspector noted that employees didn’t wash their hands between handling raw food and ready-to-eat food. The report said utensils were used in a similar unsafe fashion.

The report stated that the hand-washing sink in the food preparation area was blocked by buckets and the lavatory didn’t have hand cleanser, sanitary towels or hand dryers and lacked appropriate signs to instruct employees.

The report noted containers, surfaces, equipment and utensils used in cooking and preparation were encrusted with food residue. Other violations stated that food was not maintained at proper temperatures.


The report said the ceiling and walls in the rear storage area needed repair and cited food storage violations.

The inspector noted that during the visit he found pork in a stainless steel serving dish kept at 65 degrees in a rice cooker. When an employee started to move the dish into an oven, the inspector had the owner dispose of the pork instead, according to the report.

In 2011, patrons reported being served spoiled food, finding bugs in drinks and falling ill after eating at the restaurant.

An inspection in September found violations including flies throughout the restaurant and rat feces on the floor of a dry-goods storage area, the report states.

“They were making improvements, but when we would go back there were some repeat (violations),” Roy said.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.