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Restaurant Inspections: El Pollo Ranchero and Las Carnitas

The most recently available restaurant inspection reports from Jan. 29 to Feb. 6 along the Route 1 corridor.

From Jan. 29 to Feb. 6, the state health department inspected a few restaurants along the Route 1 corridor. For prior restaurant inspection reports, click here.

In Virginia, restaurant inspection reports aren't quite as simple as getting a letter grade or an easy-to-see number rating to post in the front window.

That said, we all want to know how our favorite restaurants stack up on cleanliness and sanitation. Inspectors grade restaurants based on critical and non-critical violations.

A "critical violation" is one that "poses a direct or immediate threat to the safety of the food being served." Non-critical violations are generally related to cleaning or maintenance.

"Ideally, an operation would have no critical violations, or none which are not corrected immediately and not repeated. In our experience, it is unrealistic to expect that a complex, full-service food operation can routinely avoid any violations," according to Virginia Department of Health's website.

The site continues: "Keep in mind that any inspection report is a 'snapshot' of the day and time of the inspection. On any given day, a restaurant could have fewer or more violations than noted in the report. An inspection conducted on any given day may not be representative of the overall, long-term cleanliness of an establishment."

Below, find the latest restaurant inspection from the Virginia Department of Health. These inspections reflect visits from inspectors during the last few weeks. Some of the violations were corrected immediately during the recent inspections.

The full reports can be accessed on the health department's website.

El Pollo Ranchero Tex Mex Cafe
6324 Richmond Hwy
Date of inspection: Feb. 5
Critical (corrected during inspection): One or more of the elements of an effective employee health policy is either missing or incomplete. A complete employee health policy is required to be in place at the food establishment.
Critical (corrected during inspection): Raw animal food stored over ready-to-eat food in the refrigeration unit. Observed raw shell eggs over avocados inside True refrigerator located on second floor.
Critical (corrected during inspection): The concentration of the bleach solution was measured at above 200 ppm. This concentration exceeds the approved limits for use with food-contact surfaces of equipment and utensils in a foodservice establishment.
Non-critical (corrected during inspection): Methods used for cooling were not adequate to facilitate proper cooling.
Non-critical (corrected during inspection): Dispensing and/or in-use utensils improperly stored between use.
Non-critical: The nonfood-contact surfaces of some equipment were observed soiled with an accumulation of dust, dirt, food residue, and/or other debris.

Las Carnitas Restaurant
8250 Richmond Highway
Date of inspection: Feb. 5
Critical (corrected during inspection): A food employee failed to wash his or her hands before engaging in food preparation and before putting on gloves.
Critical (corrected during inspection): Raw animal food holding in a manner that may cause cross contamination of ready-to-eat food.
Critical (corrected during inspection): When tested, the chlorine-based sanitizing solution was observed to be at a concentration less than what is required for effective sanitization of food-contact surfaces of equipment and utensils.
Critical (corrected during inspection): Some cooked potentially hazardous foods are not being adequately cooled from 135 degrees to 70 degrees within two hours and to 41 degrees within a total of six hour.
Critical (corrected during inspection): Food items were observed cold holding at improper temperatures using a calibrated food temperature measuring device.
Critical (corrected during inspection): Some refrigerated, ready-to-eat, potentially hazardous food that is prepared on site is not used or discarded within 24 hours of preparation and was not observed to be date marked.
Critical: Raw and/or undercooked foods are provided on the menu, menu board, table tent or brochure without proper disclosure.
Non-critical (corrected during inspection): Wet wiping cloths used for wiping counters and other equipment surfaces were observed stored on the counter.
Non-critical: Some food items that are not easily identified by appearance were observed without a label.
Non-critical: Observed that clean cups, napkins were stored in storage area on floor.
Non-critical (corrected during inspection): Observed that mops are improperly stored between use.
Non-critical: Some ceiling tiles in the kitchen is absorbent.
Non-critical (corrected during inspection): Observed that sign or poster that notifies food employees to wash their hands is not provided at all handwashing sinks used by food employees.
Non-critical (corrected during inspection): Farm-raised fish served or sold in a ready-to-eat form without freezing for parasite destruction is not properly identified as such.

Chili’s
6601 Richmond Highway
Date of inspection: Jan. 31
Critical (corrected during inspection): Food employee(s) was observed handling the following ready-to-eat foods using their bare hands: hamburger buns.
Critical (corrected during inspection): Observed the lack of an approved backflow prevention device on the water supply system. Did not observe a backflow prevention device on the mop sink faucet with attached hose with spray nozzle.
Non-critical (corrected during inspection): Food storage under other sources of contamination. Observed diatomaceous earth, used in fryers, stored under cleaning supplies in chemical supply closet located outside the establishment.
Non-critical (corrected during inspection): Dispensing and/or in-use utensils improperly stored between use as follows: Observed in-use knives being stored along both sides of prep cooler along cookline.
Non-critical: The nonfood-contact surfaces of the following equipment were observed soiled with an accumulation of dust, dirt, food residue, and/or other debris: Observed food debris on bottom of Continental chest freezer.
Non-critical: Refrigeration unit is not operating properly and is unable to maintain cold food at or below 41 degrees.

To Be Thai Restaurant
5970 Richmond Highway
Date of inspection: Jan. 31
Critical (corrected during inspection): One or more of the elements of an effective employee health policy is either missing or incomplete. A complete employee health policy is required to be in place at the food establishment.
Non-critical: The nonfood-contact surface of the following equipment is not corrosion resistant, nonabsorbent, and/or smooth: plastic wrap and tape on handle of knife on cutting board surface of prep cooler.
Non-critical: Observed that the back door entrance is not maintained in good repair. Gap under door and tile damage at corner.
Non-critical: Wall behind three compartment sink has accumulation of grime and debris.

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