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By Elena Kadvany

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About this blog: I am a perpetually hungry twenty-something journalist, born and raised in Menlo Park and currently working at the Palo Alto Weekly as online editor. I graduated from USC with a major in Spanish and a minor in journalism. Though my...  (More)

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Santa Clara County restaurants with the most and fewest health violations in 2013

Uploaded: Jan 2, 2014
Food-related 2013 listicles are everywhere this time of year: best restaurants of the year, saddest closures of the year, biggest food trends of the year, etc.

Add this one to the gamut: The Silicon Valley Business Journal published an article this week ranking several (but not all) Santa Clara County cities with the most and fewest restaurant health violations of the year.

The list was compiled with data from the county's Department of Environmental Health, current as of Nov. 15.

You can read article in full here, plus a few highlights below:

- The Department of Environmental Health handed out 1,454 major violations to the county's 6,052 restaurants in the last year, coming out to an average of 0.24 major violations per restaurant, according to the Business Journal. "Major" violations mean a restaurant must immediately correct the violation or find a "suitable alternative" and otherwise face closure.

- The most common major violation for the year is "improper hot and cold holding temperatures," which accounted for 37 percent of the year's total.

- Santa Clara stole the number one spot for the city with the most violations: 0.37 major violations per restaurant (214 major violations, 579 restaurants).

- Mountain View clocked in at number seven with 0.11 major violations per restaurant (42 major violations, 378 restaurants). The city's most common violation type by percent was improper hot and cold holding temperatures at 48 percent; Food contact surfaces unclean and unsanitized came in at 24 percent.

According to the Department of Environmental Health's website, the following Mountain View restaurants had permits suspended in 2013 for health code violations:

Togo's on 1955 El Camino Real didn't have any hot water, closed and reopened on Oct. 1; Workshop Burger on 126 Castro St. had "live cockroaches observed in facility" and no means to sanitize, closed and reopened on Aug. 21; Himalayan Kitchen on 820 El Camino Real didn't have any hot water available, closed and reopened on Aug. 12.

- Palo Alto reportedly had the lowest number of violations in 2013, coming in just below Mountain View with 0.07 major violations per restaurant (26 major violations, 351 restaurants). The city's most common violation type by percent was also improper hot and cold holding temperatures (31 percent); Food contact surfaces unclean and unsanitized for Palo Alto totaled 27 percent.

According to the Department of Environmental Health's website, Madame Tam on 322 University Ave. in Palo Alto closed for two days in July to deal with a cockroach and rodent infestation and "unsanitary equipment condition."

- Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Stanford – as areas with fewer than 200 restaurants – were not included.

Comments

Posted by Diners Club, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Jan 2, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Sort of a misleading headline. Should read "Santa Clara County cities with the most – and fewest – restaurant health violations in 2013"
You could fix it by naming some actual restaurants though, most and fewest write ups. That's the story I want to read. This city to city info doesn't really provide anything useful to the general public does it?


Posted by Anon, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jan 2, 2014 at 7:53 pm

The reports of restaurants with serious violations that were closed (even temporarily) is here:
Web Link


Posted by santa clara, a resident of another community,
on Jan 2, 2014 at 10:10 pm

Ditto the comments of "diners club." You can fix the headline (but then no one will read the article) or list the restaurants in each city (but then you\'ll get scolded by those owners). So do you want to work in PR or journalism? I say, do the journalism -- hold the feet of those sloppy restaurant owners to the fire. It\'s not your fault the truth is the truth.


Posted by Elena Kadvany, a resident of another community,
on Jan 3, 2014 at 8:36 am

Elena Kadvany is a registered user.

Diners Club, santa clara: Thank you for the headline correction; that too was caught after I posted it and changed. The data was collected by the Silicon Valley Business Journal, not me, so I unfortunately don't have all that information (though if I did, I would definitely post it). It looks like the link Anon posted only has a few restaurants posted whose permits were suspended, but I have added them to my post.


Posted by We Deserve Safe Food, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Jan 6, 2014 at 12:48 pm

The best way to get restaurants to improve is to have the inspectors give them a score, and require it be posted. There was a 13% reduction in hospitalizations due to foodborne illness in Los Angeles after they required restaurants post their health inspection scores in the restaurant. Conveniently, Yelp now integrates inspection scores for San Francisco restaurants. Let's get Santa Clara and San Mateo to follow!


Posted by diner, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables,
on Jan 6, 2014 at 9:45 pm

That list suggests that the inspectors don't like to venture too far from San Jose. A family member and friend got food poisoning last night at Palo Alto's Cheesecake Factory; if you read Yelp, you'll see many references to food poisoning at that store. I wonder if restaurants at the north end of the county are inspected less frequently?


Posted by DC, a resident of North Whisman,
on Jan 7, 2014 at 8:44 pm

@ diner.... You can search on specific sites for violations
CHEESECAKE FACTORY had two last year.

Web Link


Posted by Always check the ratings, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Jan 8, 2014 at 5:04 pm

I'd like to know how many of these inspections happened after someone called because of food poisoning or otherwise getting sick. After we got sick, we checked the resturant'sinspection history, and they had major violations. Inspectors came back and found them again. After that experience, I just don't patronize restaurants with major violations.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Jan 9, 2014 at 9:39 am

Thank you for this topic - it is eye opening and I don't want to get sick. Other recent news is a 2nd major concern about Foster Farms Chickens. According to news reports, a CA plant has been closed owing to major roach infestation. Perhaps a couple of months ago, the government attempted to shut FF for major concerns about the chicken itself. I am horrified both times since I have been a loyal FF customer over the years! Now I am thinking twice...


Posted by diner, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Jan 9, 2014 at 9:47 am

For anyone interested in checking specific restaurants, the above link is incorrect. It should be Web Link


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto,
on Jan 9, 2014 at 12:26 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

anonymous - it's pretty easy in this area to find chicken from a better source, organic, local, etc.


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