Ciocolat found in violation of health code

Ciocolat, a cafe in downtown Davis, received major violations during a routine health inspection on Nov. 9. The restaurant at 301 B St. failed to comply with the Yolo County code for retail food vendors.

One of the major violations is improper prevention of food contamination. The report indicates that hand sanitation was violated, as there was “no proper hand washing” during the handling of food.

The report also states that all of the employee hand washing stations in the kitchen, dish-wash area and the coffee area were not supplied with soap or paper towels.

Failure of the health inspection came as no surprise to a current employee.

“Employee training is not conducive to meeting health codes,” said the employee, who wished to remain anonymous. “When I volunteered at other food places, I had to learn things like proper hand washing. None of that was mentioned at the cafe.”

The California Retail Food Code requires that all food employees must be given adequate information and proper training in handling food. However, the law only requires one employee at an establishment to be certified in food safety. That employee must pass a state-approved and accredited exam that tests the employee’s knowledge on food-borne illnesses, personal hygiene, contamination, proper handling of equipment and environmental sanitation.

During the inspection, Ciocolat also received negative comments on the state of the food handling areas.

The report states “kitchen walls, ceilings covered with dust, grease. Dust on walls and ceiling fans, cobwebs. Clean all areas of facility including walls, ceilings, fans, shutters, etc.”

The report also notes that the kitchen floors had food debris that were “caked on the floor.” The restaurant was given one week to correct the problem.

“We were told that the kitchen needed a deep cleaning,” the employee said.

The worker said there is grime on the walls and surface areas due to the grease from the food, particularly from the deep-fryer in the kitchen. The kitchen walls are usually repainted once a year to cover the grime, but the walls were not repainted last year.

Other environmental issues were observed on the report. The report states that there were rat pellets found in the basement. Wiping cloths were also not properly used or stored. Ciocolat was given a week to correct these violations as well.

According to the employee, management does not enforce healthy cleaning practices. During the health inspection, a member of the staff was asked to clean the ceiling fan. The employee was told to step on the counter and the cutting board in order to reach the ceiling fan.

“While the fan was being cleaned with dust, there were people working in the kitchen and handling food in the open,” said the employee.

On Nov. 10, the restaurant received a follow-up inspection. They were able to correct the hand washing violation by putting soap and paper towels at the washing stations.

Ciocolat remains in business, though management refused to comment on their health inspection.

SARAHNI PECSON can be reached at city@aggie.org.

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