July 31, 2008

County Reports ‘Real Bad Quarter’ for Inspections

By Terry Rindfleisch, La Crosse Tribune, Wis.

Jul. 31--Summer months are a boom time for food-borne illnesses, and county health inspectors have the data to prove it.

Jim Steinhoff, a sanitarian and food inspector for the La Crosse County Health De-partment, said he was disappointed that many restaurants had more than 10 violations in the second quarter of 2008 -- about 12 percent of those inspected in the three months. "It's a real bad quarter," Steinhoff said. "There's more food-borne illness in the warmer season and more failure of equipment."

Old Style Inn in La Crosse and Seven Bridges Restaurant in Onalaska, Wis., top a list of more than 20 county food establishments that had 10 or more violations during the second quarter of 2008.

The health department reported that Old Style Inn had 22 violations, including 15 for the five major health risk factors that the Centers for Disease Control says cause 95 percent of all food-borne illness. Those 22 violations were the most for a

food establishment since the health department began reporting major risk factors in September 2005.

The health department reported that Old Style Inn corrected the violations on re-inspection.

"We had some violations and corrected them right away, and now we're good to go," said Josh Pogreba, owner of the Old Style Inn.

Seven Bridges Restaurant had 19 violations, including 11 CDC health risk violations. Seven Bridges did not correct most of the violations on the first reinspection and was assessed a $60 fee for a second reinspection, according to health department reports.

"Some of the problems we have were because we had an influx of new employees, and we needed to step up our training," said Chip Kube, Seven Bridges' owner. "We try to work with the food inspectors because it's a win-win for everybody. We take this seriously."

Cedar Creek Country Club, Forest Hills Golf Club, Pettibone Beach Club, the La Crosse Loggers and Radisson were among those that had at least 10 food violations.

Steinhoff said he expected restaurants to have better inspection reports since the Tribune started publishing food violations online in April.

Steinhoff said the two biggest areas of violations even among restaurants with fewer than 10 violations were food temperature and personal hygiene.

"These are the two areas that cause much of the food-borne illness," Steinhoff said. "I find that food temperatures are not routinely checked, or I can't find a thermometer in the place."

Some places don't have soap and water nearby for employees to routinely wash their hands, Steinhoff said. "When I inspect, I'm not seeing employees washing their hands regularly," he said. "That's a big oversight."

To check out the searchable database of all inspection results for the past three years, click here.

By the numbers

La Crosse County restaurants and other food places that have had 10 or more violations at inspections during the second quarter of 2008 (April through June). The number of CDC major risk factor violations is in parentheses.

22 (15): Old Style Inn, 828 Fifth Ave. S.

19 (11): Seven Bridges Restaurant, 910 Second Ave. N., Onalaska

16 (10): Kwik Trip, 500 Cass St.

15 (12): Ardie's Restaurant, 400 Lang Drive

15 (7): Lakeview Restaurant, 1427 Hwy. 35, Onalaska

15 (11): American Legion, 731 Sand Lake Road, Onalaska

14 (11): Cedar Creek Country Club, 2600 Cedar Creek Lane, Onalaska

14 (9): Quillin's, 201 Sky Harbour Drive

14 (11): Pettibone Boat Club, South Pettibone Drive

14 (10): Happy Joe's Pizza, 835 Oak Ave., S., Onalaska

13 (7): China Inn, 9348 Hwy. 16, Onalaska

13 (7): Forest Hills Golf Club, 600 Losey Boulevard

12 (4): Brothers, 306 Pearl St.

12 (8): Howie's Hof Brau, 1128 La Crosse St.

11 (7): La Crosse Loggers

11 (8): Hmong Golden Eggrolls, 522 West Ave. N.

10 (6): Huck Finn's, 127 Marina Drive

10 (5): Piggy Wiggly, 1607 George St. (5)

10 (7): Edwardo's Pizza Wagon, 1930 Rose St.

10 (5): Jacqlon's, 512 S. Main St., Holmen

10 (7): Fayze's, 135 S. Fourth St.

10 (6): Alpine Inn, 5717 Bliss Road

10 (6): Tres Compadres, 115 Fifth Ave S.

10 (10): Radisson, 111 S. Front St.

Source: La Crosse County Health Department

Terry Rindfleisch can be reached at (608) 791-8228 or [email protected]


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