Felice Freyer of DeFuco’s Salmonella fame, may well have written the best opening sentence in a food poisoning case ever:
“Uncle Sushi and Grill in Cranston has shut down after health inspectors found mouse droppings and evidence that a baby’s diapers were being changed in the kitchen, among other violations.”
Her story is so good, I am printing it in full:
The inspection took place on Monday when health officials learned that eight people who ate at the restaurant on May 19 became ill with vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and abdominal cramps.
Based on the symptoms, the illnesses were probably caused by norovirus, said Health Department spokeswoman Annemarie Beardsworth. All employees were asked for stool samples, and so far three have tested positive for norovirus, she said.
Although the owner, Thong Den Vongvixay, closed the restaurant voluntarily, the Health Department issued a compliance order to make sure that he does not reopen until all violations are corrected, Beardsworth said.
The restaurant, at 570 Reservoir Ave., opened in January 2005 and was last inspected on April 22, 2009. Rhode Island has only seven food inspectors for 8,000 establishments and cannot keep up with routine inspections.
These are the key violations that inspectors found: – Mouse droppings were found in flour, jimmies and noodles and on the doilies on which sushi is served. – Vinegar was being stored in container previously used for laundry detergent. – Rice was kept at room temperature in a turned-off cooker. – The restaurant does not employ a full-time manager certified in food safety. – A microwave had dried food accumulation. – Tubular lights were lacking shields – Scooters, toys, powder and wipes were found in the kitchen area, suggesting that a child was allowed in the kitchen area and diapers were changed there.
“We didn’t catch them in the act,” Beardsworth said. “The evidence would lead us to believe that that was occurring.” The owner has a 3-year-old who is still in diapers. In any case, only employees are allowed in the kitchen.