Here's how it works: Every week, the county's health inspectors within Maricopa County Environmental Services give restaurants grades after completing inspections. Participation in the rating system, however, is voluntary, which means owners or managers do not have to accept a grade after an inspection; instead, the restaurants are listed online as "not participating." And in some cases, grades posted online may change, which typically means a restaurant has provided necessary documentation for food safety or fixed a critical issue that led to a low grade. Here's a more detailed explanation.
This month, 12 restaurants landed on the list of health-violation offenders, from a pizza place in downtown Phoenix to a popular sports bar in Ahwatukee.
Forno 301 Pizzeria & Bar, Phoenix (301 West Roosevelt Street #3)
"Observed an employee touch raw spinach with his bare hands. Discussed the importance of limiting bare hand contact with the manager. Employee washed hands and discarded spinach."
No. 1 Eastern Super Buffet, Mesa (1901 South Signal Butte Road #101)
"Outdoor trash dumpster found uncovered and attracting flies - maintain dumpster properly covered between uses. Bag & tie all food wastes. Failure to correct a Core violation on 5 consecutive inspections may result in legal action."
Szechwan Palace, Chandler (2386 North Alma School Road)
"Observed dead roaches in the unused walk-in refrigerator on the east side of the kitchen area. Clean and sanitize as needed."
Snowfox 124, Tempe (3255 South Rural Road)
"Observed employee wash his hands for 5 seconds. Discussed with employee that hand washing should be for 20 seconds. Employee demonstrated proper hand washing procedure."
Wal-Mart Market No 3315, Glendale (4230 West Union Hills Drive)
"Staff member re-heating bag of pre-cooked mashed potatoes in microwave and when completed, placed food in metal container in hot holding unit. Internal temperature of food in hot holding unit measured at 115 Deg. F. Per manager, there are SOP's that staff should follow to properly re-heat food. Per staff, sealed bag was taken from walk-in cooler and placed in microwave for 12 minutes."
Chicago Gyros, Phoenix (4730 East Indian School Road #117)
"Observed several cans of indoor fogger pesticides and rodent bait blocks on top of the walk-in cooler. Manager removed from establishment at time. Pest control must be applied by a certified pest control company."
Zipps Sports Grill, Phoenix (4710 East Warner Road)
"Observed wait staff use their bare hands in direct contact with customer's drink garnish (lime). drink and fruit were discarded. Please provide barrier between bare hands and ready to eat foods. Picks were provided."
Boka Pizza, Phoenix (455 North Third Street)
"Cold water at hand wash sink in back kitchen was turned off at valve below sink. PIC turned on and cold water was restored. Make sure hot and cold water are always available at all sinks."
McDonald's, Gilbert (3021 South Val Vista Drive)
"Employee observed talking on the phone and then handling hamburger buns without changing her gloves and washing her hands. Same employee observed handling raw hamburger with blue gloves and then handling hamburger buns. Buns were discarded and employee was instructed to properly change gloves and wash her hands."
Wingstop, Glendale (5833 West Thunderbird Road)
"Six large heavily dented cans of baked beans with date received written on top stored with other large cans and containers of foods on food storage shelving unit. Discussed dented can parameters with manager. Food that is held for credit, redemption, or return to the distributor, such as damaged, spoiled, or recalled products, should be identified, segregated and held in a designated area that is separated from other food and equipment. Manager placed dented cans in back of kitchen and taped large "dented cans-do not use" sign on cans at time of inspection."
Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market No 5349, Mesa (8335 East Guadalupe Road)
"Observed potato wedges at 129'F, popcorn chicken at 103'F in top display case.... Observed spicy fried chicken at 123'F, fried chicken 118'F in lower display case. Operator discarded spicy fried chicken and fried chicken at time of inspection."
Sa-Bai Modern Thai, Phoenix (4121 East Thomas Road)
"Observed employee cell phone on the main prep counter. Phone was removed at time of inspection. Personal items must be stored in designated area away from food and food prep areas to prevent contamination."