Broken refrigerator, flies at New Market restaurant cause for concern during health inspection

Food For Thought

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A broken refrigerator and improper food storage were among the violations found recently at a New Market restaurant.

El Azteca Mexican Restaurant, 972 W. Highway 11E, New Market — grade: 75; follow-up grade: 91

El Azteca Mexican Restaurant received a 75 in its initial health inspection. That’s a passing grade. Any score below 70 is considered failing.

The inspector found whole cut beef, tomatoes, and eggs at 62 degrees. That’s way too warm. A temperature of 41 and below is the safe, cool temperature to kill bacteria growth.

The cooling system in the refrigerator wasn’t working properly and when the inspector asked the manager how long it had been broken, the manager didn’t know.

Also in the cooler, a case of raw chicken was stored on the floor. Food is supposed to be kept on shelves to protect it from potential contamination. Raw steak was found stored over ready-to-eat tomatoes. You may do that at home, but bacteria-filled raw food placed overcooked food creates the possibility of cross-contamination.

Flies were also seen throughout the kitchen. It was suggested the restaurant’s pest control company pay a visit. Finally, an employee’s drink cup on the food prep line had no lid on it. It’s OK for employees to sip drinks in the kitchen, but to prevent any accident drinks are required to have a lid on them and a straw for drinking.

El Azteca has had a follow-up inspection. All of the original violations were corrected and the new grade is a 91.

Top scores of the week:

  • Aladdin’s Cafe, 7025 Kingston Pike — 100
  • North City Cafeteria, 1601 Pelos St., Athens — 99
  • Subway, 921 E. Main St., Rogersville — 99
  • Sunspot, 2200 Cumberland Ave. — 98
  • Huddle House, 259 New Highway 68, Sweetwater — 98
  • Westside Cafeteria, 700 Westside St., Athens — 98
  • Sevierville Axe House and Pizza at the Cove, 1436 Winfield Dunn Parkway, Sevierville — 98
  • Aubrey’s, 6005 Brookvale Lane, Knoxville — 97

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