LETHBRIDGE: New ownership doesn't appear to have fixed all the problems that led to $28,750 in fines against a Lethbridge restaurant.
Last February the ownership group of the Mandarin Restaurant were hit with the penalty in provincial court, after years of failing to comply with numerous health standards. You can see the details from an earlier Country 95 News story at http://bit.ly/XJ9Bel.
Now the Lethbridge Buffet, which operates in the same building but under new ownership, is listed in the probation section of the Alberta Health Services Restaurant Inspection website. It opened its doors in November.
Problems in the most recent report from March 7th include the discovery of uninspected foods from unapproved sources in the restaurant, bags of raw meat stored on the floor of the freezer, raw vegetables being cut on the same cutting board used for raw squid without being sanitized in between and insufficient hand washing supplies for staff.
Sean Robison is a supervisor with Environment Public Health in Lethbridge. While he wasn't able to comment on the specific situation, he noted that in a case where a restaurant under new ownership goes into the same location as one that had previous issues, they first need to bring the establishment up to standards before being allowed to proceed. He explained that once that happens the new owners get a clean slate.
Robison did acknowledge the six years it took to deal with the Mandarin, saying that a shortage of inspectors made it difficult to stay on top of problem restaurants, allowing certain problems to persist longer then they should have. However, he pointed out that they have since brought in more inspectors to fill out their ranks, and ensure that major issues are handled much faster.
Discussing the current situation, Robison did want to point out that everyone has their bad days, and sometimes that day happens to be when a health inspector shows up. He continued that they do take steps to educate the owners and staff to prevent similar issues from coming up again.
You can find the most recent inspection report by visiting http://bit.ly/w5lTXL and clicking on Probation on the left side of the page. Then click on the specific restaurant. Details of individual inspection reports will come up when you click on the various dates.