Six Los Angeles eateries were closed last week due to the discovery of major public health hazards.
The Los Angeles County Public Health Department suspended each of the establishments’ health permits between July 11 and 17 as a result of hazards like cockroach and rodent infestations, officials report.
The department did not provide details about the infestations, such as the number of cockroaches or rodent droppings and where in the facility these things were found.
The restaurants closed include Hashtag Coffee & Tea, Llinks Marketplace LLC, Mama’s Soul Food, Sunshine Thai Restaurant, Don Felix Restaurant, and Butcher’s Dog.
However, stationary restaurants aren’t the only ones who need to be worried about public health hazards.
Los Angeles food trucks are becoming the focus of health inspectors as a result of their growing popularity and shrinking work space.
About 27% of food trucks earned lower than A grades over the last two years, according to a Times review of Los Angeles County Department of Public Health data. By comparison, slightly less than five percent of restaurants and about 18% of food carts fell below that mark.
Though food trucks are a staple of Los Angeles culture and have amassed large followings on twitter and other social media sites, the fact remains that it’s more difficult for them to keep up with health standards in such a cramped space.
More than four percent of food trucks inspected this year were forced to close because of failed inspections, a rate three times higher than regular restaurants.
Thankfully, after passing follow-up inspections, owners were allowed to open up most of the 70 food trucks that the Los Angeles Health Department had previously closed.
Tacos Ariza, an Echo Park fixture at Sunset Boulevard and Logan Street, earned a C on a health inspection in early March. Though the truck passed a re-inspection later that month, employee Isabel Ariza explained that it’s often difficult to receive good marks in the health department.
“It’s not as simple as it seems,” Ariza said. “It’s hard to keep everything in one compact space. They really expect a lot from us. We try our best to be prepared but [inspectors] always try to find something. It’s hard to get an A grade.”
Meeting the Los Angeles County Public Health Department’s standards is tougher than the average consumer might think. It takes a lot of work to ensure a restaurant is up to code. For example, on average, restaurant exhaust systems should be cleaned at least once every three months, if not more.
However, the current points system allows restaurants to keep an A grade even if they later have a health violation. In fact, major health hazards that cause restaurant closures currently only cost facilities four points.
The current system means that some of the aforementioned facilities shut down as a result of cockroach and rodent infestations received A grades at the time they were shut down. Fortunately, in 2017, the department will begin implementing new point deductions to prevent this from happening in the future.