When the Philadelphia health department shuts down a restaurant, it's almost certainly for at least one of three reasons.
Two of them, pest infestations and a lack of hot water, can be due to negligence, or not. Mice, roaches and flies can slip into the best of eateries. And even well-maintained hot water heaters can burst without warning.
But every month, the health department orders dozens of restaurants, groceries and food carts to close immediately for something wholy preventable. They're shuttered because there's no employee there who holds a food safety certificate. And in the eyes of Health, that's a cardinal sin.
Community College of Philadelphia offers its 15-hour certification course every month. At $225 per employee, it isn't cheap. But weighed against two days of lost business in the wake of a health department shut down, it's a bargain.
The businesses below were inspected between Oct. 7 and Oct. 21. Each inspection is generally regarded as a "snapshot in time," and not necessarily a reflection of day-to-day conditions. Most violations were addressed on site.
Included with each listing is an edited selection of infractions noted by health department sanitarians. Click on the restaurant's name or date of inspection to see a detailed report.
If you suspect you've contracted food poisoning at a Philadelphia eatery or have a sanitation complaint, contact the health department at 215-685-7495.
To look up reports on a specific restaurant, or read more in the Inquirer's Clean Plates series, visit Philly.com/cleanplates.
Mouse and fruit fly infestation. Ordered to close for 48 hours on Oct. 18.
Food not protected from contamination, mouse feces in sandwich prep cold unit; utensils not properly cleaned and sanitized. Ordered to close for 48 hours on Oct. 18. Reopened Oct. 20.
Food prep area not clean or sanitized, large amount of food debris present; a cat, roaches, house flies and fruit flies in food prep area; employees not wearing hair restraints; cleaning needed throughout prep area. Ordered to close for 48 hours on Oct. 17.
Philadelphia International Airport
No hot water; food safety certified person not present; employee did not know about food borne illnesses; empty paper towel dispenser; ice cream freezer and floor in need of cleaning. Agreed to temporarily close on Oct. 17.
Food safety certified person not present; empty paper towel dispenser; rotten pepper in walk-in cooler; tray of mac and cheese left on counter at room temperature; vegetables prepared at garbage disposal sink; unapproved bug zappers in kitchen. Agreed to temporarily close on Oct. 17.
Person in charge not present. Agreed to temporarily close on Oct. 17.
1523 E SUSQUEHANNA AVE 19125
Food safety certified person not present; milk stored at hazardous temperature; coffee urns stored on floor; floors and vents need to be cleaned. Agreed to temporarily close on Oct. 14.
Mouse infestation; flies in prep area; no food safety person on site; cardboard used to line shelves. Ordered to close for 48 hours on Oct. 13.
No cold water; improper hand washing; no sign at sink reminding employees to wash hands; food held at hazardous temperatures; thermometer not available; fly strip hanging over coffee station. Agreed to temporarily close on Oct. 13
1559 N 29TH ST 19121
2312 N 29TH ST 19132
Fly infestation; mouse droppings; expired food safety certificate; empty paper towel dispenser; pink slime in ice machine. Agreed to temporarily close on Oct. 12. Permitted to reopen Oct. 14.