Twenty-one restaurants in Champaign County failed health inspections between September 2012 and the end of February, with critical violations ranging from improper storage of food to employees failing to wash their hands.
Six were temporarily shut down.
For example, one restaurant, China King, located at 2145 Neil St., C, was closed down Jan. 25 with an adjusted score of -3 and nine critical violations including raw meat and dumplings stored at improper temperatures, the mingling of employee food with customer food and an employee washing hands in the vegetable sink.
Restaurants fail if they score 35 or below. If they score below zero, they are automatically closed down. Restaurants with a failing score upon reinspection are also closed down.
China King was reinspected on Jan. 29 and scored 32 and remained closed. It had two critical violations including a lack of functioning air current to outside door to prevent pests and insects from entering kitchen. On its reinspection on Feb. 1, China King scored 77 and was allowed to reopen.
Other closures include El Charro Mexican Grocery Store, 55 E. Green St., C, which was closed Sept. 26 with an adjusted score of 6 due to seven critical violations, including large amounts of gnats and flies, employees observed who didn't wash their hands and dried pork skin that was directly touching the floor.
The facility was reinspected on Oct. 4 and allowed to reopen.
Cravings at 603 S. Wright St., C, was shut down on Feb. 4 with an adjusted score of 2 and nine critical violations, including 10 tubs of cooked chicken and beef that were out of temperature. It was closed down for repeatedly failing its health inspections. On Feb. 8, the restaurant scored 77 and was allowed to reopen.
Rich's Family Restaurant, 305 W. Ellen St., Ogden, was closed Jan. 11 with an adjusted score of 24 and five critical violations, including pork chops and turkey that were stored at incorrect temperatures. The restaurant was inspected in December with an adjusted score of 7 and nine critical violations, including raw chicken juice that dripped into uncovered bins of batter, salt and flour and no employees were observed washing their hands during the inspection.
The restaurant was inspected again on Jan. 12 and allowed to reopen with an adjusted score of 89.
Xinh Xinh Cafe, 114 N. Vine St., U, was closed down on Dec. 3 with an adjusted score of -3 and nine critical violations, including a pork chop covered with slime at the bottom of a reach-in cooler, stock pots of pho left out overnight and employees not washing their hands when they come to work.
The restaurant was allowed to reopen on Dec. 5 with an adjusted score of 93.
It was last inspected on Oct. 31 with a failing score of 21 and six critical violations including chicken and beef out of safe temperature ranges.
Chinatown Buffet, 713 Marketview Drive, C, was closed Oct. 4 for repeated failing its health inspections because of an adjusted score of 21 and seven critical violations, including two tubs of chicken at unsafe temperatures, grill food on the buffet line out of safe temperatures and crab on the buffet line out of safe temperatures.
The restaurant was reinspected on Oct. 5 with a score of 86 and allowed to reopen.
CU-Citizen Access began publishing scores and information on health inspections in September 2011 as public health officials have grappled with how to make them public. Many other communities in Illinois and nationally make them public through newspapers and websites or have the restaurants post their ratings on site.
Last summer, the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District began posting a list of all the restaurants and food establishments it inspected online. The list includes the result of the inspection, such as "general compliance" or "reinspection required." It does not clearly say whether a restaurant has failed. Instead, it says "reinspection required" if it failed or "suspended" if closed.
Health officials are now drafting new ordinances requiring food establishments and restaurants to post a color-coded placard that indicates the result of the inspection.
A CU-CitizenAccess analysis of nearly 2,200 inspection records between September 2011 and February 2013 showed that the average adjusted score is 72.4.
Just over one in five health inspection reports had scores of 90 or higher.
About this story:
For the past five years, Champaign Urbana Public Health District officials have discussed ways to best publicize restaurant inspections.
Health inspection reports of restaurants and food facilities are available by request from the health department. In June, the health department also began posting a monthly list of all inspected food facilities and the current status.
In 2011, CU-CitizenAccess.org began posting full inspection reports of all restaurants that failed routine health inspections since 2008. See http://www.cu-citizenaccess.org/feature/restaurant-inspections.
As a service, we continue to post the full reports of failed health inspections as part of our searchable, interactive map.