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Hand-washing issues lead to Restaurant Report Card ‘Fs’ for food trucks

DENVER -- Food trucks are rolling into parks and neighborhoods in the Denver metro area. But how safe are restaurants on wheels? Area health experts inspect trucks for food safety just like full-service restaurant locations.

Los Grandes

Denver Health inspectors found 13 critical health code violations in the last two surprise inspections. In April, the inspector noted the following:

  • Employee touching food with bare hands
  • Beef held too warm
  • No sanitizing solution
  • No soap

The truck had been open for two hours when an inspector arrived. The health expert ordered a cease and desist because there was no soap.

The operator had soap delivered within 10 minutes and was back in business.

"We follow the rules," the owner said. "We were missing soap. We did have soap, but it was running out. We are trying to maintain the temperatures the way it’s supposed to be.”

Los Grandes passed its follow-up inspection.

Tacos Vasquez

A Denver inspector cited the truck for 10 critical violations in its April and January 2016 inspections.

Among the mistakes:

  • The truck did not have a license
  • Operator using nearby hotel for water and storage
  • Employees not washing hands
  • Salsa too warm

An inspector passed Tacos Vasquez a week after its regular inspection.

California Wrap Runner

The “A” goes to the wrap maker for a perfect health inspection.

"We always make sure we have gloves on," manager Shaun Rizk said. "Everything is washed. Everything is dated. Everything is sparkling and shiny clean. There are definitely challenges compared to a restaurant, but we got it down to a 'T.'

"As long as I’m the manager, it will be in tip-top shape.”

California Wrap Runner is at Civic Center Eats on Tuesdays.

How restaurants appear on our Report Card

Restaurant Report Card features health inspections in the city and county of Denver, Jefferson County, Weld County, Broomfield and restaurants under the jurisdiction of the Tri-County Health Department. The Tri-County Health Department includes Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties.

An inspection is a “snapshot” of what is happening during the day and time of the inspection. On any given day, a restaurant could have more or fewer violations than noted in an inspection. Also, at the time of an inspection, violations are recorded and can be corrected prior to the inspector leaving the restaurant. If violations are not corrected, a follow-up inspection is scheduled.

The criteria FOX31 Denver uses to give a restaurant a failing grade includes the evaluation of two unannounced inspections by county health inspectors. A failing restaurant must have five or four critical violations on their most recent regular inspection and five or four critical violations on the previous regular inspection. The restaurant may also fail for nine or ten or more violations in one inspection. Health inspectors may conduct critical or follow-up inspections, due to the number of critical violations found during a regular inspection. Those inspections may also be considered for our reports. We recognize restaurants with two regular inspections in a row, with no critical violations, by awarding them an A.

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