I've only ever known one health inspector, he was only at the job for about a year, and he has literally never eaten at a restaurant that didn't cook the food right in front of him again.
It's pretty fair to say he was traumatized by the things he saw in his short time at the job - and based on some of what you're about to read here ... yeah... that's not exactly a shocker.
Reddit user CalmAnxiety87 asked:
If you have a sensitive stomach you might want to take a deep breath and find your happy place before you start in on this article. Maybe plan a few breaks, too?
Yeah, it gets that bad.
The restaurant was an all you can eat buffet, and had a small wait staff employed to bring drinks to customers.
Almost all of the food in the buffet was too cold, and the kitchen has mice droppings all over.
But the most shocking part is, the waitress would take half finished drinks from previous tables and top them off to give to new customers.
Soda is dirt cheap! I can't imagine they saved more than $1-2 dollars a week by being so gross and lazy.
Homophobia Saved The Day!
My place of employment almost got shut down by the health inspector, but homophobia saved the day!
I was duty manager at a large, 3 level nightclub. Owners were cheap and refused to spring for decent cleaning stuff. The place was pretty grimy. Not filthy, but not likely to pass. Health inspectors never, ever showed their face... until one rolls up at 4am for a surprise inspection.
The upstairs room (generic nightclub: bad music, lasers, smoke machine etc) was just closing, and the staff had already been cleaning for half an hour so the inspector figures there's no point.
He comes to the smaller, public bar on ground level. This room is open 24/7 so it's considerably cleaner as it's open during daylight hours. He goes over EVERYTHING and finds nothing.
Clearly frustrated , he asks if there's any other rooms open. I tell him we have a 3rd room at basement level, and I'm already mentally preparing for calling my boss at 4am. We hadn't started work on this room yet and the inspector was obviously itching to shut something down, so I figured this is where the problem would be.
We head down the stairs and a few patrons leaving pass us as they head up. These patrons were 2 men, roughly the same size as vending machines. They're wearing leather harnesses, leather chaps, underwear clearly visible and not much else.
Health inspector turns to look at me, eyes like dinner plates:
Him: "This is a fa**ot bar?!?"
Me: "We're open to everyone, but the patrons are predominantly gay if that's what you're asking."
Him: "Ugh. Gross. Forget it."
And that was it. He left. Normally I'd make a formal complaint but given how unlikely we were to pass in that room, I figured it was a bad idea to draw any more attention to us.
Not a health inspector, but my dad was. He witnessed an employee of a grocery chain spray Lysol around and over the meat section in attempt to get rid of flies and the smell of rotting meat.
My dad went up to the employee and identified himself as a health inspector and the employee nearly passed out. Place was closed shortly after.
I was a health inspector for about 5 years. I saw so many things. Like:
- a cleaner using a rag and bucket to clean the floor and then immediately using the same rag to clean the prep station (literally right in front of me).
- trying to explain to a completely-stoned chef why he has to actually reheat the gravy to full temp instead of just letting it come to room temperature on the counter and serve it like that.
- throwing out the entire inventory of a large bakery (basically a warehouse) for mouse infestation (that is some interesting logistics work).
- helping a coworker serve a court summons to someone that locked him in a freezer when they didn't like the result of the health inspection.
You name it I saw it, I could go on and on.
A New Restaurant
I just bought a restaurant and we are remodeling planned on being closed for 30 days to do some updates and open.
We took over and all of us were almost sick looking at the kitchen. Roaches everywhere, old food in the stoves and ranges. Grease caked on the equipment so thick and over so many years we power washed the equipment and had to use palm Sanders to try to get rid of it.
After spending lots of money and time we had to get rid of everything in the kitchen and start over. They were serving food out of that kitchen two weeks prior and we could not use the same equipment after intense cleaning. This is all aside from the fact that they had steam warmers that had been under able to drain ad they had maggots in the water.
So we are still in the process of cleaning everything and getting new equipment.. but wow I feel bad for anyone who ate there.
Let The Health Inspector Choose
One of my friends is a health inspector and we usually let her pick the restaurants when we go out. She's not allowed to tell us specifics until they're public, but the worst things she's ever seen included:
- a local cake business operating from someone's home (which is fine, if it passes inspection and obeys regulations) where the owner let her six cats do whatever they wanted in the kitchen (which is not so fine.) Apparently they were just walking all over the ingredients and sniffing the cake batter and sh*tting in a litter box beside the oven.
- an Indian restaurant whose butter for naan bread etc (to brush on top before baking) was just in an old plastic tub that had been sat out for six months and had mouse droppings in it.
The Mop Sink
I work in restaurants and asked our inspector the worst thing he has ever seen.
He was at a Mexican restaurant and the prep cooks were fast thawing chicken in the mop sink. As in the sink they use to clean the floors with. They were doing this in front of him with no remorse. They were shocked when he made them bleach the meat to destroy it, and took off several points from their score.
Hard To Pick A Story
I am a health inspector and it's honestly hard to pick a story, because the gross sh!t I see everyday is so commonplace that I barely find it gross anymore. The restaurants in the town I work are actually, as a whole, pretty good because they get full inspection 4 times a year. They really don't have time to get super grimey!
That being said I've seen my fair share of cockroach infestations (place was full, crawling all over equipment and utensils, etc. Place was closed for over a week.)
Rats in the kitchen (actually saw one scurry from behind the cookline and out a hole in the back screen door, rat droppings were everywhere, that place closed for 1 day to clean.)
Place had mold literally so thick you could not see the color of paint covering every wall in the kitchen (they were closed for less than a day.)
Place had a full on sewage backup from the kitchen to the basement, where there was food stored. They knew it was disgusting, but remained open and just had their staff tie plastic bags over their shoes if they needed stuff from the basement. We closed it down.
The Fat Garbage ThiefGiphy
Get a call for man with a weapon at a Chinese buffet. We got there and didn't see anyone with a weapon, so we located the caller to get details. He says one of the staff had a machete and ran back into the kitchen yelling something. We hear the yelling get closer and a raccoon comes waddling through the swinging door to the kitchen followed closely by a very angry Asian dude... with a machete!
We draw weapons on him and he locks up, drops the machete, and asks why we're pointing guns at him. Umm, because you're running around a buffet with a machete?
Raccoon ghosts off somewhere.
No, they were not serving raccoon meat. It turns out the little trash panda had darted into the kitchen while the cook was on smoke break. Cook grabbed a machete to run the fat garbage thief out of the restaurant and ended up terrifying everyone. Security camera confirmed this. They still got shut down for related issues.
No Common Sense
I am a health inspector. I don't have a story to share (and I guess other inspectors don't either, hence, "I'm not an inspector) because what I see on a daily basis seems par for the course and doesn't gross me out any more. I am use to it. I can see it and write them up but I don't see it as "story" worthy. I take care of it and move on.
By the way, common sense is not common. People say "hand washing is common sense". People don't wash their hands in front of me while I am inspecting. They are so use to not washing their hands that even when they are being inspected they don't do it even to make things look good.
Probably not the grossest but I have seen goopy build up hanging out of soda machine nozzles. Probably hadn't been washed in weeks or months.