All but seven of the 30 food businesses visited by Merced County health inspectors in October received “good” marks for cleanliness and food-safety compliance. And no restaurants fell into the low-scoring “unsatisfactory” grades from their inspections.
October was the second consecutive month in which no restaurants or markets failed their inspections.
Eight businesses across the county passed their inspections with no violations noted by officials from the Environmental Health Division of the Merced County Community and Economic Development Department.
Merced County inspectors serve up “good” ratings to businesses with six or fewer violation points, “satisfactory” grades for seven to 13 violation points, and “unsatisfactory” ratings for food establishments that accumulate 14 or more violation points in a single inspection visit.
A lack of hot water is one of the most common violations found by inspectors when they make their rounds. Hot water at a temperature of at least 120 degrees is considered important for safely washing pots, pans, dishes and classes, as well as for employees to wash their hands.
Other serious concerns for food safety are evidence of insect or vermin infestations, including cockroaches or rodents; refrigerators that don’t keep food cold enough or steam tables that don’t keep food hot enough to inhibit bacterial growth; and clogged sinks or drains that cause contaminated water to back up into kitchens.
In most instances, if an inspector finds a problem, it’s something that can be easily be fixed on the spot – issues like having enough bleach or sanitizer in the water used to wipe down food-preparation areas; putting lids back onto food containers; replenishing soap, paper towels and toilet paper in restrooms; or reminding employees to wash their hands and wear gloves and hairnets.
Merced County’s Environmental Health Division maintains a database of restaurant and food inspections online for public viewing at its web page, www.countyofmerced.com/597/Environmental-Health; click the “Food Inspections” tab along the left side of the page.