Dr Oz: Restaurant Health Inspector
Dr Oz teamed up with health inspector Peter DeLucia to learn more about restaurant food safety. He even got to go along with DeLucia for a restaurant inspection, in search of critical violations, such as raw sewage or problems with food temperature.
Dr Oz: Hot Food Temperature Vs Cold Food
Dr Oz and DeLucia did find some problems with food temperature. Hot Food is meant to be stored at 140 F or above, while cold foods need to be kept at 45 F or below. Mayonnaise found in a food prep area during their visit was at 48 F, a “critical health hazard,” according to DeLucia.
He also tossed out a bucket of liquid eggs, because pooling eggs puts diners at risk for Salmonella. According to Dr Oz, most restaurants tend to get non-critical violations, but if an establishment receives three or more critical violations, they must appear in court.
Dr Oz: What Are Health Inspectors Looking For?
Peter DeLucia said his primary concern is public health. He found a strainer in one kitchen that had sharp edges, which he was worried could break off and end up in someone’s food. He asked the restaurant to throw it away.
The next stop on their visit was a search for evidence of roaches or rodent droppings in storage areas such as shelves. The good news was that there were none to be found on this visit. However, DeLucia did discover some mold on a fan inside a refrigerator, making another violation. He also found rancid food debris in a tilt skillet.
Dr Oz pointed out that sometimes people attempt to stall a health inspector to give kitchen staff the chance to clean up quickly. DeLucia does not hesitate, often heading straight for the kitchen or entering from the back for surprise inspections.
Dr Oz: Restaurant Chairs Bacteria
Health inspectors may also check the seats that diners sit on in restaurants. Peter DeLucia explained that chairs have been found to contain Enterococcus, a bacteria that can cause UTIs, as well as bacteria that can result in Pneumonia. He said that restaurants tend to focus on the kitchen, and it can be difficult to adequately clean fabric chairs in a dining room on a daily basis.
Peter explained that health inspectors are important because they pay attention to consumer health risks beyond food. He wants people to protect themselves, so he advised washing your hands after ordering food, to wash away germs from your chair or menu, before enjoying your meal.