In the past four weeks, state and county food inspectors have cited Iowa restaurants and grocery stores for hundreds of food-safety violations, including moldy roasted food, dead mice, and corned beef that was more than three weeks old. One eatery agreed to halt all food service after the inspector determined it posed “an imminent health hazard” to the public.

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The findings are among those reported by the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, which handles food-establishment inspections at the state level. Listed below are some of the more serious findings that stem from city, county, and state inspections at Iowa restaurants, stores, schools, hospitals, and other businesses over the past six weeks.

In this list, there were three restaurants mentioned in the Quad Cities area. Find the full list of restaurants mentioned in the original article here.

The state inspections department reminds the public that their reports are a “snapshot” in time, and violations are often corrected on the spot before the inspector leaves the establishment. For a more complete list of all inspections, along with additional details on each of the inspections listed below, visit the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals’ website.


Popeye’s, 3906 N. Marquette St., Davenport

During a Jan. 19 visit, a Scott County inspector noted that there were several pieces of fried chicken being held at 114 degrees to 124 degrees, which was not hot enough to ensure safety. The chicken was discarded.

Also, one pan of raw chicken was observed sitting out on a food-prep table at 46 degrees. The chicken had been seasoned and then left out, the inspector reported, adding that this was a repeat violation for the restaurant. The inspector also noted the cooked fried chicken that was on hand was supposed to be discarded if not served within 30 minutes, but no timers or labels were being used to indicate how long the chicken had been holding.

Also, the interior of the sandwich-making station had a visible amount of food debris and built-up grime; the shelving inside the biscuit warmer had a buildup of food debris; the interior of an ice bin had visible debris inside it; the food storage bins for holding flour, sugar, and rice had a buildup of dirt, grime and food debris on them; several lids to pans inside the walk-in cooler were smeared with food debris, and several bins holding clean utensils had a buildup of crumbs and food debris inside of them.

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“All areas require additional cleaning,” the inspector wrote in his report. “This is a repeat violation.”

Also, two handwashing sinks were being used instead to store objects, which was another repeat violation; and a bottle of restroom-cleaning spray was stored on top of the food preparation table.

The inspector also made note of utensils that were stored in standing water; bulk-food storage containers that had cracked and broken lids; food-prep tables and handles of cooking equipment that had a buildup of food debris and grime on them; a microwave oven that had a buildup of dried food debris inside of it; and kitchen walls that were splattered with food and a buildup of dirt.

The county inspector categorized the inspection as routine but stated that he was there to follow up on a complaint regarding the cleanliness of the establishment. The inspector didn’t state in his report whether he considered the complaint to have been verified.

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Las Herradura Mexican Grill, 540 N. Cody Road, Le Claire

During a Dec. 29 visit, an inspector noted that there was no manager and none of the employees knew who was in charge.

The inspector reported that chicken was stored in a walk-in cooler above whole cuts of beef and pork, and shredded chicken prepared the day before, was cold-holding at 47 degrees. Several pans of queso prepared two days earlier were holding at 46-48 degrees. The chicken and queso were discarded.

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Also, several pans of vegetables in the walk-in cooler had no date markings, and several buckets of house-made salsa had the wrong dates marked on them. The vegetables were discarded, and the salsa was relabeled. In addition, several large buckets of house-made salsa were date marked Dec. 16, almost two full weeks prior to the inspection, and were discarded.

Several items in the walk-in cooler were being cooled incorrectly, having been poured into deep metal pans that could not be cooled in the required time. Also, an employee was observed putting a pan of raw chicken on the floor of the kitchen.

The Frontier Again, 2300 Lincoln Way, Clinton

During a Dec. 29 visit, an inspector noted raw beef and pork were being stored over cooked meat items inside the walk-in cooler. Also, there was raw ground beef “sitting directly on top” of whole pork inside the cooler.

Several food items had been held longer than 24 hours but were not date marked, such as cut tomatoes, cut melon, pastas, and cooked eggs. The inspector also found multiple food items that exceeded the allowable time period for having been kept. There were cooked chicken wings dated Dec. 11; pulled pork dated Dec. 16; sausage links dated Dec. 19; sliced beef dated Dec. 11; ham dated Dec. 3; corned beef dated Dec. 3. All of the food had to be discarded.

Also, the inside of the microwave oven was “soiled with caked-on food debris.” In addition, the restaurant’s cold-holding arrangement at the salad bar was deemed to be insufficient to maintain proper temperature requirements, with ice levels too low to keep the food at a cool enough temperature to ensure safety.

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There was a “large accumulation of dead insects on ceiling-mounted fly traps” in the kitchen; food items at the salad bar were not covered to protect from contamination by customers; cases of food were stored directly on the floor of one cooler; the shelves in one cooler were soiled; water was accumulating in the bottom of another cooler; the interior of the buckets used to store clean utensils was soiled with food debris.

The inspector also made note of a “grease accumulation on the walls, floor, and vent-hood filters by the cooking equipment,” as well as a “large accumulation of greasy residue” around the floor drain.

The inspector categorized the visit as a “routine inspection done in conjunction with an illness-complaint investigation. “No other complaints have been noted,” the inspector reported. “Complaint was unverifiable.”

Article and material used under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Original story: Restaurant inspection update: moldy roast, dead mice and ‘an imminent health hazard’by Clark Kauffman, Iowa Capital Dispatch, January 27, 2022

Iowa Capital Dispatch is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Iowa Capital Dispatch maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kathie Obradovich for questions: Follow Iowa Capital Dispatch on Facebook and Twitter.

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