WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Health Dept. Quiet About Failed Restaurant Inspections

Dec 9, 2014

Guadalajara Bar and Grill on East Jackson St. in Macomb was closed for 72-hours over the weekend after failing a surprise, routine health inspection Thursday.

It was the restaurant's fourth failed inspection in the last two years.

The McDonough County Health Department's Stephanie Johnson said Guadalajara scored a 75 out of 100 on the inspection and was faulted for having three critical violations that centered around food handling practices.

The notice of closure posted by the health department was the only information given directly to the public
Credit TSPR's Emily Boyer

"Foods not under heat or refrigeration, left out at room temperature, that's the biggest one," Johnson said.

According to the health department, critical violations -- if not corrected -- are more likely to directly contribute to food contamination or unwholesomeness. This could have led to food borne illness, and Johnson said it is possible someone could have become sick from eating at Guadalajara recently.

A closure notice was posted on the door of Guadalajara by the health department. But Johnson said aside from that it is not the health department's policy to notify the public when a restaurant fails an inspection.

"We don't normally do that unless there was a worker with a communicable disease -- then we might reach out to the public," Johnson said.

Restaurant inspections scores were previously shared with the public and posted on the McDonough County Health Department's website. But the most recent online entry for Gudalajara is from September, 2013.

"For the past year we haven't been able to update them since the person who used to update our website is no longer here," Johnson said. "We are working on having our website updated but we don't have anyone that has the capabilities to do it."

The health department completes more than 200 inspections within the county annually. Most establishments are visited once or twice. Because of frequent violations, Guadalajara is inspected four times a year. Johnson said the health department had last been in the restaurant in August.

The only other restaurant to be temporarily closed this year because of failed inspections is El Rancherito  on West Jackson St. in Macomb.  It's been shut down three times this year. Johnson said the health department has been to both El Rancherito and Guadalajara to train employees in English and Spanish, yet the violations continue.

The Health Department's Course of Action:

  • 1st failed inspection: 24 hour closure
  • 2nd failed inspection: 48 hour closure
  • 3rd failed inspection: 72 hour closure
  • Every failed inspection thereafter: 72 hour closure, $1,500 fine, and the Board of Health can decide to pull permit

Guadalajara's reopened Monday after fixing all critical violations and paying a $1,500 fine.

Johnson said anyone wanting to know more about a restaurant's recent inspection scores should contact the health department by phone.