Health Inspectors Share The Grossest Things They've Seen In Restaurants
Health Inspectors Share The Grossest Things They've Seen In Restaurants

If you've ever eaten at a restaurant, plan on eating at a restaurant or have ever even heard the word restaurant - this one's for you

Things are going to get gross, don't say we didn't warn you. We know you're stubborn and you're going to read ahead anyway. So prepare yourself, you're about to enter a world of roaches, bribery, dumpster diving, and at least one live bear.

No that was not a typo.

One Reddit user asked:
Health inspectors of Reddit, what are the most vile conditions you've ever seen in a restaurant?

And we clicked it, for some reason. We sat here for like three hours, you guys. We got sucked into the world of grossness. Now you're about to suffer with the things we can't unread. You ready to be well and truly baffled at what on earth is wrong with some people?

The Envelope
The Envelope

I was performing a pest control service on one restaurant that was shut down by the health inspector. 4 techs, spending 5 hours treating for German cockroaches. I have NEVER seen an infestation more severe than this one. When we were finished for the day, i would say that there were at least a few thousand cockroaches still running around. Health inspector collected an envelope from the owner, took down the violation on the door, got in his car and drove off. He didn't even reinspect the place.

Live Mice
Live Mice

Shut down a restaurant awhile back as there was a severe rodent infestation. I'm talking poop everywhere, in the utensil bins, on the food prep surfaces, just everywhere. Owners were brushing it aside as they worked. Live mice stuck to glue traps under sinks, etc.

Closed Down By A Can Opener
Closed Down By A Can Opener

I've only ever closed down one restaurant. It's actually much harder in most places than you would imagine: lots of red tape that prevent field staff, and even managers, from using their professional judgment in the service of public health.

A pizza place was operating without a permit at one point in time. I had drafted a letter stating that, and before I went out to hand-deliver it, I got a complaint notification. Someone had eaten their pizza the day before, and their son had felt glass (or something that felt like pulverized glass) in his pizza. Backing up for a moment to the red tape thing: we're not legally allowed to investigate or inspect restaurants who don't have a permit (you can thank the U.S. Constitution for that). You can see the dilemma. We decide the best course of action is to deliver the letter saying they're operating illegally, and that it would be in the best interest of their business and the public health to allow us to investigate the nature of the complaint.

After I get permission to go in and take a look around, I'm appalled: the manager has fingernails that extend probably half an inch beyond the nail bed. And they're caked in flour and other ingredients. The other employee there has dirty bandages all over his fingers. Both of these characters are dressed in filthy uniforms. The walk-in cooler has loads of uncovered foods sitting beneath mold, all beneath a ceiling of black filamentous fungi. The pizza-prep table has broken doors/hinges, and is covered with what I can only describe as putrified ingredients from 2003. It clearly hasn't been cleaned since then. The plastic lexan containers holding the food items in the cooler are all breaking apart and chipping... At this point, I've got a few ideas as to what that guy found in his pizza, and I don't think any of them are glass. It's probably a fingernail, or a band-aid, or plastic, or maybe broken metal from the cooler itself...

Then I see it... The most disgusting can opener I've ever seen. To put it in perspective, mounted can openers are like the low hanging fruit of every health inspector: they're almost always out of compliance, and writing one up will make you look like a Try-Hard jerk who's out to get the restaurant owner in trouble. They're usually not a big deal. Except this one. This one is absolutely caked in dried, vile, pizza sauce goop that has turned black with age. The blade itself is so dull and chipped it is literally peeling metal filaments off into a mass next to the blade. Every time this thing is used to open a new pizza sauce (which, by the way, is put into a cracked plastic container and covered with a trashbag to keep the loads of flies away) it deposits metal chips, flakes, filaments, whatever you wanna call it, into that sauce, and into the bellies of the customers.

Needless to say, I was appalled. I had the person in charge call the store owner, who pleaded with me to let him stay open. Given that they didn't even have a permit to be open in the first place, this was a no-go. I went back the next day with back-up, and we formally closed them for operation until they could get everything back into working order. Surprise surprise, they call the next day saying everything is fixed, and... I can't believe it, but it was. Managerial lack of control aside, they must have spent a thousand dollars and 16 hours into cleaning this place. The one dude even clipped his fingernails!

Success story? Maybe. Gross example of what you get with second-rate poorly managed restaurants? Definitely. They're lucky no one has yet died from eating there.

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