Red Alert: State inspector finds rodents chewing into food containers at buffet

11:08 PM, Feb 7, 2013   |    comments
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Inverness, Florida- The Evergreen Buffet in Citrus County is known for its wide selection of tasty Asian cuisine.

"My favorite is the peanut butter chicken," said loyal customer Aleisha Miller.

But on January 22nd, state inspectors found some less than appetizing issues including 28 violations, seven considered high priority, according to official state records.

Among the problems:

  • An employee not washing hands after working with raw food
  • Live roach near the cook line
  • Close to a hundred rodent droppings
    • found on the clean dish shelf
    • on top of cans
    • underneath the cooks line
    • and on the wine shelf behind the dessert bar

PHOTOS: View photos of the Restaurant here

The inspector also documented chew holes in large bags of rice and more chew marks on take home food containers.

We broke the news to loyal customers.

"I think it's very nasty, unsanitary," said Inverness resident Cody Colson.

So what is restaurant management doing to address all the issues? This past weekend, we stopped in to find out.

"You mean you got a report from the health inspector?" asked a shocked employee.

We explained the state health inspection reports are public record, available for anyone to see. We asked for permission to take our camera into the kitchen for an inspection. 

At first, we were told "No way," but after about 30 minutes, we were finally given permission by the owner.

"All of our customers here is regular customers," said manager Elaine Tacn. "They know us, how clean we do."

Tacn blamed the violations on the owner leaving town to tend to a family illness.  

"Someone sick... and he went away."

Tacn took us on a tour of the kitchen where we found each hand sink stocked with soap and paper towels, food up off the floor and no sign of any rodent droppings.

We did however find a few violations, like some food left uncovered in the freezer and a small flying insect on the cook's line.

"We correct everything! It won't happen again; we promise," said Tacn.

Customers were uneasy about the violations, but say they feel much better the restaurant opened up their kitchen for everyone to see.

"That is a good sign because it shows that they are trying," said Dinah Stone. "It lets the public know they are putting forth the effort to get everything under control because it doesn't happen overnight.

Take a look at Evergreen Buffet's full inspection history here.

Follow 10 News Reporter Beau Zimmer on twitter @Zimm10

Beau Zimmer, 10 News

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