Dead rodents, raw sewage and insects close Chinese restaurant in Craig
October 11, 2016
CRAIG — Roaches, rodents and raw sewage are probably the last thing anyone would want to discover at one of their local eateries.
But that is exactly what recently closed down The Galaxy Chinese restaurant in Craig, according to the Colorado Department of Health and Environment.
"There were two key things that were in the formal notice that we had sent to the owners of the facility," CDPHE's Retail Food Program Coordinator Troy Huffman said.
The first violation discovered by an inspector was an active sewage backup present on the floor of the kitchen while food was being prepared and the second was an insect and rodent infestation.
Huffman said both of those issues prompted immediate closure of the restaurant upon discovery during an inspection on Sept. 27.
"We are not in the business to close businesses — unless there is an imminent health threat," Huffman said, noting the seriousness of the violations.
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According to the inspector's report, cockroaches, rodent droppings, dead rodents and exposed sewage in the kitchen were all observed in the restaurant while food service was taking place.
"In addition, the floors, sidewalls, ceilings, furniture, receptacles, utensils, dishes and machinery… were found to be in unclean, unhealthful and unsanitary condition," reads the closure order issued to the restaurant.
The inspector also stated in his report that employees did not wash their hands between tasks and the backroom was "filled waste high with garbage."
Huffman said a few mouse droppings, especially in winter when rodents seek warm shelter, or a dead roach or two are not causes for immediate closure, but the situation at The Galaxy was far worse.
"To the extent of what we saw, that's where we made the decision that we need to do a closure," Huffman said.
The inspector’s lists of infractions appeared endless as it described dog feces behind the backdoor being tracked into the kitchen, a decaying mouse being swept up with the same broom used to clean the rest of the facility, food being stored at improper temperatures and “no evidence of cleaning at all.”
According to the Moffat County Assessor’s Office, the building housing The Galaxy is owned by Ling Yan Zhang and had an assessed value of $69,277 in 2015.
Craig Building Inspector Marlin Eckoff said the restaurant had no issues with the city in terms of the building.
But the eatery's encounter with CDPHE is not a new occasion.
According to CDPHE's closure order, "[The Galaxy] has been cited for multiple critical violations on numerous previous inspections, has received at least three notices of noncompliance, has been assessed civil penalties and has already been closed by the department for unsanitary conditions once in the last 12 months."
Kandee Dildine, owner of KS Creations and treasurer of Craig's Downtown Business Association, said she was glad that the state stepped in to protect the public's health and safety, but it is unfortunate that downtown Craig has one less restaurant.
"It does hurt business when you don't have very many restaurants downtown," she said.
In order to reopen, the owners of The Galaxy must schedule a hearing with CDPHE and demonstrate correction of the unsanitary conditions.