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Restaurant Red Alert: Customer reports finding band-aid in soup

10:56 PM, May 9, 2012   |    comments
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PALM HARBOR, Fla. - It was supposed to be an evening out to celebrate a birthday, but David Baier says when he and his family finished their salads at Leo's Italian Grill on US-19, the next thing brought to the table was some chicken and rice soup.

"My sister-in-law was stirring the soup to cool it down as I went to take a bite of the soup, and I did take a bite of the soup and she found a band-aid in her soup," said a disgusted Baier. "It was very appalling. We didn't know what to think."

But David says what happened next was even more alarming.

"She said she could lose hundreds of dollars in taking the soup off the menu, and to me that's not acceptable. I said, 'Can you take this off the menu? You're worried about profit instead of people's health and safety,'" said Baier, who was so upset over management's behavior he called 9-1-1 to have a deputy come and write a report.

Baier eventually filed a complaint with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, the agency in charge of monitoring restaurant safety. The complaint sparked an inspection and, on May 3, the agency went in documenting 22 critical violations.

Among the worst was raw meat stored over the cooked sausage, milk not properly date marked, an employee handing bread without gloves, a dead roach in the mop sink, and a toxic liquid stored on top of the paper plates. The inspector also found moldy lemons in the walk-in cooler, prompting a stop sale.

10 News stopped in and met with owner Leo Karruli, who showed us where the band-aid incident happened.

"The manager go on the table, I go on the table... I said I'm sorry what happened, I don't know what's going on," said Karruli, who speaks broken English.

He suspects a child in David's party may have somehow gotten the band-aid in the soup after crawling on the floor.

"The little boy was all over the place and the thing," said Karruli, who also denies the allegation the soup was left on the table.

"The rest of the soup was just thrown away in the garbage, but never served to the customer, the same thing."

Karruli agreed to take us on a brief tour of the kitchen. He says the moldy lemons stored in the walk-in cooler were thrown out and all other problems corrected on a follow up inspection last week.

"I got the report from the health department right here and it's certified, everything completed, and there's nothing wrong with the place," said Karruli, who hopes customers give his restaurant a second chance.

As for Baier and his family, "Personally, I'm never going to eat there again."

Outrageous Restaurant Red Alert reports:

Band Aid Soup: Customer served soup - with a band aid in it!

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Big Easy Cajun, Brandon TownCenter 1/25/12 

CiCi's Pizza, Kenneth City 2/1/12 

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