KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Improper storage of food and chemicals at a Mexican restaurant in Claiborne County led to a failing health inspection score.

Cowboy’s Mexican Grill, 6341 Cumberland Gap Parkway, Harrogate — score: 65; follow-up score: 95

Cowboy’s Mexican Grill in Harrogate scored a 65 in its initial inspection. It has since been reinspected and corrected its critical violations.

In the initial report, food and equipment in the kitchen were found next to cleaning spray bottles, deodorizing spray, and 3-in-1 oil. To prevent contamination chemical spray bottles are supposed to be separated from food and food equipment.

In dry storage, the health inspector found several severely dented cans of olives. Dents in the seals of cans could potentially spoil the contents. The olives were thrown away.

Cooked food temperatures were also off. Rice on the steam table was found at 90 degrees but a temperature of 135 and above is the safe, hot temperature to prevent foodborne illness.

Finally, wet rags were found on food preparation tables. The rags are used to clean tables and they’re supposed to be kept in buckets with sanitizer.

The inspector returned to Cowboy’s Mexican Grill for a follow-up inspection. The original violations were corrected and the new health inspection score is a 92.

Top scores of the week:

  • Suttree’s High Gravity Tavern, 409 S. Gay St. — 100
  • Emilia Restaurant, 16 Market Square — 100
  • Preservation Pub, 28 Market Square — 100
  • Tako Taco, 235 W. Depot St. — 100
  • Union Place, 4884 Chambliss Ave. — 100
  • Zaxby’s, 1510 S. Congress Parkway, Athens — 99
  • Yamato Cafe, 1504 Decatur Pike, Athens — 99
  • Hoskins Drug Store, 111 N. Main St., Clinton — 98

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