SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - The Salt Lake County Health Department shut down three local restaurants in Salt Lake City last week.
One was serving partially eaten rice to its customers. Health inspectors say it's a good reminder to restaurant owners to follow health codes.
Health inspectors shut down two Chinese restaurants and one Mexican food stand. One in China town, Ho Mei BBQ, had 81 health code violations.
Health inspectors discovered what they call "imminent health hazards" at the Ho Mei BBQ, including, a tray of watermelon stored below a rack of ducks that were dripping blood, poisonous materials in food containers and employees working without food handler permits.
Owner Larry Chang said a lot of the violations were committed unknowingly, and they are now bringing the restaurant up to code.
"I will promise to all the public that everything will be safe in here," said Chang, who gave FOX 13 News a tour of his restaurant and kitchen.
Brent, a customer, who didn't want FOX 13 to use his last name, said he became concerned when he was picking up take-out food at the Ho Mei BBQ and filed a report with the health department.
"They were touching my ready-to-eat food, which was barbecue pork, with their bare hands, after touching money and other unsanitary items in the facility, so, I was concerned about that,” Brent said.
Two more restaurants were temporarily closed, including the Good Future Chinese restaurant, where the staff was reportedly serving partially eaten rice and placing burnt cigarettes on food preparation surfaces.
The third restaurant was Tacos Amarillo, which was cited for not having an operating license or functional hand-washing sink.
Health Inspector Andrea Gamble reminds new restaurant owners to follow all health codes and openly display permits in their establishments.
"The role of the health department is to educate the restaurant, so if we see a violation and it's something that we can just educate them, and fix it, then that's what is done," Gamble said.
Concerned customers who want to report a restaurant health code violation can contact the Salt Lake County Health Department at 385-468-8888 or visit the website at http://slcohealth.org/.