Risky extras for area eateries

Dangerous health violations pose problems at some food vendors around campus.

Eating on and around campus can be an adventure. The types of food available to the Temple community are endless.

With all the meal options available on campus, the Department of Public Health has to remain vigilant on making sure all establishments are clean.

Safety at eateries on and around campus vary based on health inspections. Several establishments were reported as having minimal to no inspection violations, while others had major infractions.

Ali’s Middle Eastern at the Anderson food pad had numerous critical violations during its last inspection. Food at Ali’s was cited as being stored at improper temperatures (Sara Elia/TTN).

Ali’s Middle Eastern, located in the Anderson food pad, was cited for six critical violations at its last inspection. One violation cited was food being stored at improper temperatures.

According to healthinspections.com, cold foods must be stored below 41 degrees Fahrenheit in order to prevent bacteria growth. At Ali’s, raw eggs were recorded at 80 degrees and mayonnaise at 78 degrees. Other violations included soiled wipe cloths and fly infestations.

Jeff Moran, spokesman for the Office of Communications at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, said each establishment is inspected once a year. If inspectors find critical violations, they will return within 30 days for re-inspection. Critical violations are defined as posing a potential health risk.

“The establishment is responsible for paying for any subsequent inspections,” Moran said. “These re-inspections are unannounced.”

At Koja Grille, a restaurant at the Shops at Avenue North, inspectors observed employees with possible respiratory or gastrointestinal illness. Jae Sim, owner of the Japanese and Koren restaurant, said one employee was seen coughing, but he was not aware of any serious illness.

Sim said the department returned for a re-inspection three weeks ago and did not find any violations. These reports have not been released to the public.

“There are no problems here now,” Sim said.

Koja Grille at the Shops at Avenue North had a clean re-inspection after health inspectors initially observed employees with illnesses (Sara Elia/TTN).

Chris Thames, manager at the Draught Horse, said the restaurant did not have any critical violations during its last inspection. However, a recent report on healthinspections.com lists four violations, including food not being protected from contamination and mouse and small insect infestation.

Campus Grub, a lunch truck formerly located on the 1600 block of Broad Street, had numerous violations. During the department’s first visit in 2008, mouse droppings and dead roaches were found on the same shelves where food was stored.

The truck was cited for “heavily soiled and stained” wipe cloths and for its food equipment and floors being encrusted with dirt, mouse feces and dead roaches.

When inspectors returned six days later, there were no dead roaches. Instead, inspectors found live ones. Leaves and “unidentified debris” were also found in the deep fryer.

Campus Grub is no longer found on campus. Moran did not know if the truck is still in operation.

“If something poses an immediate threat to public health, the establishment will be asked to voluntarily shut down,” Moran said. “In most cases, they do.”

If establishments do not comply, the case is heard in court.

The majority of lunch trucks were pest-free. The shops between Paley and Anderson, with the exception of Ali’s, received safe reports, as well.

Feim Amzovski, owner of Fame’s Famous Pizza, said he works very hard to keep his establishment clean.

“I work seven days a week during the school season,” Amzovski said. “I power wash the store on the weekends.”

Andrea Hanratty can be reached at andrea.hanratty@temple.edu.

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