Chow Bella

Gross Out: Calabria Italian Grocery and Deli Employee Learns the "Elbow Cough"

Calabria Italian Grocery and Deli at the corner of 3rd Avenue and Roosevelt in Phoenix sure looks cool -- but that was apparently not enough for county restaurant inspectors, who gave the deli a "No Award" rating (the lowest possible) last month.

Without the health violations, this is the kind of place we'd like to see more of around here: funky, big-city style deli food and groceries. But inspectors indicated they're starting legal proceedings -- that's how bad their review was, including:

An employee had to be taught the "elbow cough" after coughing into his or her hand, then handling a plate with food. Various kitchen utensils were "soiled with organic debris". Roast beef and smoked turkey were held longer than 24 hours without being date stamped to indicate when it's time to toss them. A thermometer used for steamed milk, knives in "disrepair" and several dented/bulging cans of tomatoes were tossed. 

"A training inspection is heartily recommended," the inspector wrote. We agree.  

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Amy Silverman is a two-time winner of the Arizona Press Club’s Journalist of the Year award. Her work has appeared on the radio show This American Life and in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Lenny Letter, and Brain, Child. She’s the co-curator of the live reading series Bar Flies, and a commentator for KJZZ, the NPR affiliate in Phoenix. Silverman is the author of the book My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome (Woodbine House 2016). Follow her on Instagram (@amysilverman), Twitter (@amysilvermanaz), and at