You may be shocked to find out how often health code violations happen. Here’s a hint: they happen all the time. ALL. THE. TIME. That hotdog joint down the road? Probably has a health code violation. Hole-in-the-wall burger sport? Probably has a health code violation. Your favorite lunch restaurant definitely has a health code violation. Though these violations are fairly common, not all are restaurant-shut-down worthy. Some are simple oversights with easy fixes. However, many other health code violations will make you puke, and yes they are real, and yes they could happen at your favorite restaurant without you even knowing! Today, I am going to share with you some of the grossest, most disgusting, health code violations found on the web. Are you brave enough to see how bad some restaurants handle the food you eat? I thought I was.
“Former Inspector here. I once discovered a rat infestation in the kitchen of a hospital. They asked me if I could prove my “suspicions.” I pointed out the numerous foodstuffs with 1″-2″ circular holes chewed in them, but they didn’t seem convinced. I showed them the trail of droppings and footprints coming and going from a hole in the floor drain, but they didn’t seem convinced. I showed them the three dead rats I had discovered under and around equipment. I think they began to believe me at that point. Citations included rat infestation and absolutely deplorable cleaning practices.” – SuperDaveP270
How about food with that ?
“-A toilet with a pipe that lead openly into the kitchen, where the waste flowed into an open drain.”
Is that what I think it is?
“Not health inspector, but I worked as an assistant cook in a restaurant. Two weeks into the job, I opened a cupboard to get a can of tomato sauce and I see a huge ass tarantula scuttling away behind the cans. I told the boss what I had seen, so that maybe we should get someone to deal with the huge ass spider living in the kitchen.
Boss turns to me and says “I see you’ve met Eduardo. Just don’t put your hand too close to him and you’ll be good.” Later another cook proceeded to explain to me the spider been living there for 2 years and they allowed it because he kept rodents and roaches away.” – Not_a_Terminator
“A diner in Bloomington, Indiana found a finger alongside his hamburger when he dined at a local TGI Friday’s. A member of the kitchen staff had cut off a portion of his finger and, in the confusion that arose when people rushed to help the man, the finger ended up on a plate. It was only a small piece of finger, but the diner noticed it immediately.”
Don't Drink the Milkshake
“An angry employee, who got fired, pooped in a milkshake machine. The machine was only cleaned a few days later.”
A slice of what?!?
“A rat that had half eaten through a loaf of bread before it had been put through a bread cutting machine. Each slice of bread, you could see a segment of the rat.”
You're supposed to clean that? Who knew!
“I once inspected a restaurant, and when I looked at the grill, it was GREEN! Apparently, it had not been cleaned in so long, food actually started to mold on it! The owner of the restaurant said, ‘You’re supposed to clean it?'”
“I saw pies that hadn’t yet had their lids put on, so they were open to a cockroach-infested kitchen. We were getting complaints about half-eaten cockroaches in pies…”
Just Scrape It Off!
“One time, the McDonald’s I worked for had a health inspection. We had a few racks of expired buns. They had been expired for at least a week and were getting moldy. My boss pushed them to the back where the trash sits.
After the inspector left, he pulled them all out.
I did my shift set up and started throwing the buns. He got angry saying I was wasting money. I told him that they were moldy. He said, ‘We can scrape it off.’ I asked him if he personally would eat one, and he said no and walked away.”
The Mouse is a Cannibal!
“The dual combo of mouse and roach infestations are usually the worst, as the urine and feces are usually the most unsanitary part of the equation.
Or the triple whammy with rats on the exterior. Nasty characters, but they tend to stay outside (or in basements).
One of my first restaurants had such an infestation; a mouse had been stuck in a trap (under a dining room booth) and had eaten the brains of her young to stay alive. The corpses (numerous adults, plus young) were hallowed shells, the maggots had cleaned them out.
The roach infestation was contained in the moist and warm kitchen, where the food was made.
The most common issue I came across was insufficient cleaning and dilapidated structures. When it comes to pests in a restaurant, it’s not a matter of ‘if,’ but a matter of ‘how many.'”
Butt Crack Spatula
“My brother is a health inspector. He tells me that every kitchen operating for over a year has black mold somewhere. Permanent fixtures, old rotten food wedged in corners of flooring and cracks, unclean utensils, it’s always there. One time, he had to investigate a Denny’s after a woman got ill dining there. Upon the results of his investigation, he found that the cook had been placing the spatula in the crack of his buttocks between meals. My brother immediately shut the place down and had the entire restaurant swept for dirt and other grime. Let’s just say that it hasn’t reopened in over five years after a possum infestation was discovered in the kitchen.”
“I was inspecting a pizza place. They used a ‘proofer’ to prepare the dough (think a big, warm, humid cabinet). I opened it up, and a million flies flew at me. I closed the door and looked through the glass. Someone had left a tray of dough in the proofer for a long time. The tray was filled with what seemed to be a billion maggots. The dough had turned to liquid at this time. The manager of the store tried to tell me it was only left overnight. They will lie no matter what.”
Coors Field Fiasco
At Coors Field in Denver, one health inspector found a live mouse in a commercial-sized bag of molasses-flavored popcorn and peanut snacks. BUT WAIT, there’s more. He also found five live cockroaches in a trap in a storage room. Two weeks earlier, inspectors had found a large number of mouse droppings on a kitchen floor, in food-prep trays, inside a bin of rice (yeah, INSIDE) and among bags of cookies that had been chewed.
A Table of Maggots
“I was in a BBQ joint inside a casino. They told me that the place was an issue and they had washed their hands of the problems hoping they would just close shop. Needless to say, the flies were a problem. But the biggest concern was the prop table in the kitchen that had NEVER been cleaned. It was a very large and stainless steel table. The bottom of the table top was dripping with grease and fat from the BBQ. No clue how it got there. Maggots were crawling all over the underside of the table. The smell was nothing I will ever forget. This place served hundreds of people a day under gross incompetence.”
The Scent of Cockroach
“Health inspector here. I worked on the private side auditing 29 different chains in the US. I did a couple inspections a day for a little under three years. I have hundreds of stories. I can smell roaches the second I walk into a building (if they’re present). They have a nutty oily smell that is very distinctive if you’re around them often enough. That’s a smell you never forget. Relevant story: I was in a popular buffet chain and couldn’t find the roaches I smelled. I looked everywhere. I called my buddy who was a pest control officer. he came in, grabbed a LARGE shop vac and said ‘move fast’. He lifted off the back of the soft serve ice cream machine and they poured out like a waterfall all over the floor. We got them all cleaned up. Soft serve ice cream machines all leak and typically they’re not cleaned well. Hot, wet and dark is the perfect place for an infestation.” – Ilimonkeys
“My friend was inspecting a restaurant – walked out the back to find a man stirring a huge pot of curry. With his arm. No spoon or anything, just up to his hairy elbows in curry.”
A Messy Pizza?
“We had a Health Inspector get called into a crime scene by the police where there was blood all over the place. A robber shot the owner’s wife and the owner chopped him to death with a cleaver in the restaurant. When the police showed up the kitchen crew were eating pizza in the middle of the mess. Not sure what the police wanted her to do that they couldn’t do – it was a crime scene!”
Bleach and Milk
“Used to have a job working as an inspector for storage tanks at places like dairies and factories. Went to a cheesecake factory once to test a milk storage tank. It had just been cleaned and was being prepped to be filled with a tanker full of milk. I noticed the floor of the tank was covered in bleach. It turned out, the floor manager couldn’t be arsed to spend the time sucking out the rest of the cleaning fluid used in the cleaning process and, as standard, just filled the tank with milk on top of a dozen gallons of bleach. His theory was, that there was enough milk to dilute the bleach to acceptable consumption levels. I wrote a report and he was promptly fired.”
Tuna Melt Surprise
“So, my husband was a health inspector. Here are my two favorite stories…” (Only one shown here.) “He once did an inspection in a southern style place. While inspecting the fridge, he noticed they had cat food in there. Whiskas cat food. He was preparing to talk to the owner about not feeding strays, but instead, she began talking about how she got a good deal on a pallet and no one could tell the difference. Yeah, she was using it in the tuna melt sand which. That place was known for its tuna melt.”
When You Gotta Go...
“Not me, but my mother is a health inspector. She inspected a Chinese restaurant and in the kitchen, there was a bucket of urine under a preparation bench. The chefs used the bucket instead of making the trip to the restroom.”
Old Chicken Breasts
“I used to work at a deli years ago. When I first arrived there were chicken breasts covered with bright green scabs sitting, uncovered in the walk-in. I asked if I could throw them out and was told ‘no.’ Two weeks later when we ran out of chicken for our salads, I was told to go get the by-now fuzzy green chicken breasts, cut off the green parts and salvage the rest. I avoided doing it, stating I had no time and did other things. My boss did it instead. I threw them all out when I was working alone the next day and told her we sold them. I quit soon after.”
“Inspected meat and produce markets, in Detroit nonetheless. A particularly suspicious looking place was selling sketchy ground beef at a very low price. This guy had cases of rodent meat in his freezer. He was grinding it with his beef. Obviously, that is highly illegal and he was shut down.”
Cut Around the Rat
“Struck up a conversation with the health inspector as he inspected my kitchen; he told me about our neighboring restaurant he just shut down. While walking through to the freezers he noticed the frier had not been drained and the oil had congealed, but not before a rat had fallen in. Its tail was protruding from the now solid oil. After bringing this to the attention of the manager, the inspector went on to find various violations. When the inspector passed back through the frier area, he saw that the solution to the frier/rat problem had been yanking the rat by the tail and cutting around the body before firing up the oil for the day’s needs. He had been having trouble/complaints with this place for months and after the rat corndog incident, he ordered the doors locked and restaurant closed.”
From the Ceiling to the Plate
“My favorite Chinese restaurant got shut down. My ex-wife worked for the city and I asked her what was the deal. She said the health inspectors found something leaking from the ceiling. They lifted the ceiling tile and shined a flashlight and saw multiple eyes staring back at them. It was chickens. They were raising chickens in the ceiling and chicken sh_t was dripping in the food that I had been eating at least once a week.”
A Hair-Ball Surprise
“My uncle is a health inspector in rural Australia. He got several complaints about a fish n chips shop in a small town in Victoria, with reports of it being a bit grotty and people getting chunks of hair in their hot chips. So he rocks up one day unannounced on a blazing hot day in the middle of summer, and the owner greats him and shows him around wearing a white singlet top with sweat patches under the arms, short shorts and no shoes. This guys body was covered in hair. Not just on his arms and chest, but his back and neck were like a werewolf.
Clearly, this must be the source of the hair in the chips. My uncle decides to make a tactful comment about having to wear appropriate clothes when working, so as to protect against hot oil burns. After seeing the property and giving a few basic suggestions, the only other thing he notices that needs immediate attention is the deep fryer itself. The oil is old and filthy, and likely full of this guys hair, so he orders the bloke to drain it out right then and there. The owner does so, and at the bottom of the oil vat is a dead, deep fried and crispy…cat.
Totally un-phased, the owner simply said: “oh, that’s where my cat went!” Turns out a few months previously the shop was having a rodent problem, so the owner bought in a cat to catch them. He thought the cat escaped overnight and ran away. Nope. Looks like little Fluffy drowned in the deep-frying oil, and Mr. Chippy has been frying him up over and over and over again ever since. The clumps of hair locals were complaining about weren’t from the half-man-half-wolf owner, but the fur and flesh of a dead cat.”