KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Improper food temperatures led to 80 pounds of food being thrown away during a recent health inspection at a Cocke County restaurant.

The temperatures along with other sanitation and food-handling issues merited a failing score for the Mexican restaurant.

Cancun Mexican Restaurant, 1140 West Highway 25/70, Newport — grade: 65

Cancun Mexican Restaurant scored a 65 on its inspection. Any score below 70 is considered failing.

Pans of chicken and refried beans that had been stored in the cooler for more than a day were found to have a temperature of 55 degrees. A temperature of 41 and below is the required temperature to stop bacteria growth and prevent foodborne illness. The result was 40 pounds of chicken and 40 pounds of refried beans had to be thrown away.

The health inspector suggested the restaurant invest in shallower pans and put the food in the walk-in freezer. Cooling foods have two hours to reach a temperature of 41 or below according to the health inspector’s report.

Points were also deducted for improper handling of food. A kitchen employee was seen handling raw chicken with bare hands before returning to the food prep table and working with ready-to-eat tortillas without washing their hands or putting on gloves. The tortillas were thrown out.

A dirty wiping cloth was also at the food preparation table. The cloth should have been in a bucket with sanitizer in it.

There were also problems in the dry storage room. A can of tomatoes was severely dented around the seal. A compromised seal can potentially spoil the contents. The dented can was sent back to the supplier.

The restaurant is awaiting a follow-up inspection.

Top scores of the week:

  • Subway, 7327 Kingston Pike — 100
  • Subway, 7300 Norris Freeway — 100
  • Subway, 2919 Old Knoxville Highway, Alcoa — 100
  • Domino’s Pizza, 2636 Broadway — 100
  • Taco Bell, 4413 Western Ave. — 100
  • Taco Bell, 19881 Alberta St., Oneida — 100
  • Chicken Salad Chick, 726 Watkins Road, Maryville — 99
  • Subway, 20483 Alberta St., Oneida — 99