DENVER -- It’s a disturbing sight that happened behind a restaurant, all captured on camera.
A Montbello family recorded videos of employees at Pho 999 apparently chopping up meat outside its back door. The videos have since gone viral, being viewed and shared thousands of times on Facebook.
“The first thing I thought of, 'Is that man cutting up meat?'” Kagome Levy said.
Levy noticed the incident after taking a shortcut behind a Peoria Street strip mall one afternoon. She told the FOX31 Denver Problem Solvers that one employee was wearing flip flops and no gloves.
“It has stripes on it, and that’s when we were really like, really freaked out,” Levy said.
The family visits Pho 999 weekly.
“That’s not something you want to see at a restaurant you’ve eaten at before," Levy said.
The Problem Solvers visited the restaurant hoping to get an explanation. The manager claims the employees were cutting up fish but only to feed employees. Fish isn’t listed on the menu for customers.
“The reason we do that outside is because we don’t want to get contamination to food that we serve to customers,” manager Tram Hoang Pham said.
The video launched an inspection by the Denver Health Department. It issued a $500 fine Friday for repeat violations. The report cites improper storage of employee food and drinks intermingled with food for customers.
Health officials said they can’t prove it’s not fish being sliced up in the video. But Levy is sticking to what she saw.
“You’ll see big chunks of meat. That’s too big for fish,” Levy said.
Pho 999 was not citied for any health hazards in recent health inspections, only small violations such as food temperature control, not washing hands and plumbing problems. The manager said she will no longer allow the employees to bring food outside.