You can eat there

Would you stop eating at a local restaurant if you knew that among the critical violations the restaurant was cited for, there was a dented can of bamboo shoots?

That was one of 11 critical violations for which the restaurant at Bookcliff Country Club was cited by the Mesa County Health Department late last year. All of them were quickly corrected, but the country club still ended up on the Health Department’s list of local eateries with the most critical violations.

Grand International Buffet at 2504 U.S. Highway 50 and Blue Moon Bar and Grille at 120 N. Seventh Street were the top two on the list of restaurants with the most violations. But like the Country Club, their violations were not the sort of thing that would turn most customers away from their doors. There were dented food cans, employees drinking beverages without covers in food preparation areas, food that was not cooled adequately. And all but one violation, which required a plumbing fix, were corrected in subsequent inspections.

Even under the category “insects and rodents” — which sounds potentially stomach-churning — for the Grand International Buffet that amounted to an inspector observing several flies in an employee restroom.

Readers can see for themselves by clicking on the inspection reports for individual restaurants at health.mesacounty.us/environment/foodinsp/index.asp. Click on the “I understand” button and it will take you to an alphabetical list of restaurants, with links to their inspection reports.

We don’t mean to diminish the importance of the annual restaurant inspections conducted by the Health Department. They serve a critical purpose. We want to know the places where we choose to eat are clean and healthy.

But the news accounts of the annual inspection report have too often given very little information about the nature of the violations. That’s been true of this newspaper, as well as other news media. But that’s going to change. The Daily Sentinel will do a better job in the future of reporting the actual nature of the violations for restaurants that receive the most citations.

And, by visiting the Health Department’s Web site, readers can see for themselves how any restaurant in the county is doing. We believe they’ll find few health reasons that would make them avoid eating at any restaurant on the list.


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