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Dirty Dining: A Look at Anchorage Health Inspection Reports

November 12, 2012|By Jason Lamb, Ashleigh Ebert and Chris Klint | Channel 2 News

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — We all enjoy dinner out from time to time, but just how safe are the kitchens where you eat?

Each month, Anchorage's Department of Health and Human Services slaps restaurants with critical violations -- things that could lead to you getting sick.

There are 22 restaurants in Anchorage with six or more critical violations. In a list of those restaurants which DHHS gave to Channel 2, three were tied for first place with nine violations each. One of them was Indian eatery Bombay Deluxe, at 555 W Northern Lights Blvd.

When health inspectors visited in May, they found a "fan in the kitchen that had visible and excessive debris in the process of cooling food" -- likely a fan in a refrigeration unit.


That's not all. Investigators also found "excessive debris covering the hot and cold knobs on the only hand sink in the entire kitchen area."

In addition, investigators saw employees washing their hands inside a food prep sink that had previously stored raw chicken and still needed to be cleaned.

Investigators also asked them to clean and maintain the vent hood and filters of excessive debris -- saying it was a repeat violation.

During an unannounced visit by Channel 2, management at the restaurant said they had cleaned up their act, and health inspectors agreed for the most part; in their next inspection just days after our visit, they found only two critical violations.

The second restaurant that had nine critical violations was the Firetap Alehouse, at 10950 O’Malley Centre Dr. in South Anchorage. Inspectors wanted to make sure restaurant owners kept the meat slicer thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.

“Between lunch and dinner it could be six hours, and yes, that could be a problem,” said Tony Barrett with DHHS. “Any time you have food and moisture on a piece of equipment and bacteria, they're going to be able to grow and multiply during that period of time.”

Firetap also had problems dealing with foods in the temperature danger zone, between 40 and 140 degrees.

“It’s an incubation chamber, essentially for bacteria, so food spends time in that danger zone, we run the risk of bacteria able to reproduce and multiply,” Barrett said.

Bratwurst at the restaurant was measured at 57 degrees, causing inspectors to remind employees that the meat had to be immersed in an ice-water bath. And alfredo sauce was measured at 115 degrees after reheating it in the microwave.

Food temperatures were also a big problem at the third restaurant with nine critical violations, Thai Town at 3311 Spenard Rd. Inspectors there found packages of fresh rolls between 76 and 77 degrees -- inside the temperature danger zone. Cooks were asked to throw the fresh rolls out.

General cleanliness was also an issue at Thai Town, with investigators noticing the faucet handles on the kitchen area’s hand-washing sink had dried-on debris.

We wanted to check back in with both restaurants to see if they've cleaned up their act after their inspection -- but employees at Thai Town wouldn't let us see whether the problems had been solved. Articles