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Behind the Kitchen Door: China Express

6:49 PM, Feb 9, 2012   |    comments
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BRANDON, Fla. -- China Express is known for its quick take out, but most of the restaurant's customers never see back where the food is made. It's a kitchen that's racked up 99 violations in five state inspections over the past year.

In January, inspectors documented numerous critical violations including:

  • Eggs not properly refrigerated
  • Shrimp thawing at room temperature
  • Food stored on the floor and not covered
  • Live roaches, 20 spotted on the inspector's visit, including on a dirty meat slicer

Some of the violations were repeats from inspections earlier in the year, according to state records.

Last week, 10 News stopped by China Express to find out if the problems had been corrected. An employee who identified herself as Sophia reluctantly invited our camera behind the kitchen door to take a look.

On our visit, we too found many of the same critical violations documented by the state, including food on the floor uncovered in the walk-in cooler. We also found eggs sitting out unrefrigerated.

But the biggest concern was insects. The state forced China Express to close after roaches were found throughout the kitchen. We asked employees if that issue had been taken care of.

"I'm sorry...you have to delete the video," said the employee who originally allowed us into the kitchen.

When we asked again if the bugs were taken care of her response was, "I'm not sure. I'm just temporary. I don't know about the problems."

But our camera helped to answer the question, capturing more evidence of insects, including dead roaches, on the floor under the sink in the kitchen.

We spoke with the owner of China Express on Wednesday, who told us over the phone all problems in his restaurant had been taken care of. He said the state would not have allowed him to reopen if the problems still existed.

Read the full China Express inspection history here.

Take a look at our previous Behind the Kitchen Door reports:

Classic Homestyle Buffet, Tampa 1/11/12 

Frank's Family Restaurant, Hernando 1/18/12 

Big Easy Cajun, Brandon TownCenter 1/25/12 

CiCi's Pizza, Kenneth City 2/1/12 

China Express, Brandon 2/8/12

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