Welcome! Login | Register
 

Trail Blazers Select Gonzaga’s Collins at #10 Overall After Trade With Kings—Trail Blazers Select Gonzaga's Collins at #10 Overall…

HBO’s Game of Thrones Releases Trailer for Season 7—HBO's Game of Thrones Releases Trailer for Season…

Fecteau: An Embargo Against North Korea—Fecteau: An Embargo Against North Korea

Former Patriots Tackle O’Callaghan Comes Out as Gay—Former Patriots Tackle O'Callaghan Comes Out as Gay

Wild Roots Teams With Johnson Creek Farms to Launch Cranberry Vodka—Wild Roots Teams With Johnson Creek Farms to…

Portland General Electric Names Kaner New General Counsel—Portland General Electric Names Kaner New General Counsel

NEW: Otto Warmbier, American Student Imprisoned in North Korea, Dies—NEW: Otto Warmbier, American Student Imprisoned in North…

Sunday Political Brunch: Is the Press Too Depressing?—June 18, 2017—Sunday Political Brunch: Is the Press Too Depressing?…

Fecteau: Adiós Cuba—Fecteau: Adiós Cuba

Fit For Life: We All Need to Get Better…—Fit For Life: We All Need to Get…

 
 

Restaurants Violate Health Code Four Times More Often Than Food Carts

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

 

Tyler Helton making crepes at Perierra Creperie, a food cart on SE 12th and Hawthorne Blvd. Photo by Emily Liedel

Portland area restaurants are four times more likely than food carts to be cited by health inspectors for health code violations, according to an analysis by GoLocalPDX. 

Between July 1, 2013 and Aug. 4, 2014, Multnomah County Health Department staff conducted 9,065 restaurant inspections and handed out 20,375 citations to restaurants. During the same period, the county conducted 2,424 food cart inspections and cited 1,438 violations. 

That works out to approximately 2.25 violations per restaurant inspection and 0.59 violations per food cart inspection. 

On a sunny Wednesday afternoon, a small line was gathered in front of Perierra Creperie, a food cart at Southeast 12th Avenue and Hawthorne Street. Tyler Helton, the sole cook, cashier and waiter, dashed around taking orders, pouring crepe batter and calling out the names of waiting diners. 

It almost seems counterintuitive that food carts, often operated by young, firsttime business people, would have fewer health violations than established restaurants. But that is the case.

It doesn’t surprise Christie Sweitz, inspections supervisor for Multnomah County’s Environmental Health Department. 

“Restaurants have a lot more stuff, so there are a lot more things, minor and major, that could go wrong,” Sweitz said. 

Whether they are inspecting a food cart or restaurant, inspectors look for anything that could cause foodborne illness. There are five main categories that the county identifies as high-risk practices: employee hygiene, employee health, improper temperatures (including food not cooked to the correct temperature or not being held cold or hot enough), cross contamination and food from unapproved sources, including bringing food from home. 

Bill Perry, vice president of Government Affairs at the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association, said it’s unfair to compare the two.

“They are being inspected as a delivery vehicle, not a prep kitchen,” Perry said. “It’s apples and oranges.” 

Tyler Helton prepares a dish at Perierra Creperie, a food cart on SE 12th and Hawthorne Blvd. Photo by Emily Liedel

But Sweitz noted that health inspectors use exactly the same criteria when inspecting both food carts and restaurants. The reports issued by the county use the same violation codes and refer to the same sections of the health codes for both restaurants and food carts. Both get inspected twice a year.

Perry said food cart operators sometimes do their food prep in their homes, which is illegal. All food that is sold at a restaurant or food cart has to be prepared in an inspected kitchen. 

Sweitz acknowledged that cart operators do sometimes bring food from home. In the past 13 months, however, there has been only one citation for doing prep for a food cart at a residence. 

Food cart operators are allowed to use inspected commissary kitchens to do cold prep and dishwashing. 

Common violations

Failing to keep food either cold enough, below 41 degrees, or hot enough, over 135 degrees, to prevent bacterial growth was the most common violation for both restaurants and food carts. 

Hot and cold holding was cited in 10.49 percent of restaurant inspections and 5.4 of percent food cart inspections.

For food carts, other common violations were: 

  • Not having appropriate temperature measuring devices (3.3 percent)
  • Not separating, packaging and separating foods appropriately to avoid cross-contamination (2.5 percent)
  • Lack of an accessible handwashing sink (2.4 percent)

For restaurants, other common violations were: 

  • Failure to advise consumers that a menu item with raw egg or raw meat might cause foodborne illness (7.6 percent)
  • Not separating packaging and foods appropriately to avoid cross-contamination (5.9 percent)
  • Not having appropriate temperature measuring devices (4.5 percent)


The fishbowl factor

There are other reasons carts might have fewer violations, said Kelsey Schopp, events coordinator with FoodCartsPortland.com

Many carts are owner operated, so the person doing the cooking and serving is very invested in the business, Schopp said. 

Schopp also pointed to another reason, one clearly on display at the Perierra Creperie on Wednesday afternoon.

As Helton worked, the waiting customers stared into his kitchen and watched him cook. 

 

Related Slideshow: Top 12 carless cities in the U.S.

Portland ranks among the top cities in the nation where residents live without cars. Check out the other cities that scored highly.

Prev Next

1. New York City

City rank by population     Largest        
Carless population            56.5 %
Metro area density            2,054 people
per kilometer *

Photo by Leo-seta, CC

*density information from U.S. Census urbanized area records for 2010

Prev Next

2. Washington D.C.

City rank by population     24th largest
Carless population            37.9 %
Metro area density            1,150 people
per kilometer *

Photo by robposse, CC

Prev Next

3. Boston, Mass.

City rank by population     21st largest
Carless population            36.9 %
Metro area density            862 people
per kilometer *

Photo by Darron Schall, CC

Prev Next

4. Philadelphia, Pa.

City rank by population     5th largest
Carless population            32.6 %
Metro area density            1,060 people
per kilometer *

Photo by by Tony Fischer, CC

Prev Next

5. San Francisco, Calif.

City rank by population     14th largest
Carless population            31.4 %
Metro area density            2,419 people
per kilometer *

Photo by Christopher Chan, CC

Prev Next

6. Baltimore, Md.

City rank by population     36th largest    
Carless population            31.2 %
Metro area density            1,187 people
per kilometer *

Photo by Tim Shahan

Prev Next

7. Chicago, Ill.

City rank by population     3rd largest
Carless population            27.9 %
Metro area density            1,361 people
per kilometer *

Photo by Bryce Edwards, CC

Prev Next

8. Detroit, Mich.

City rank by population     18th largest
Carless population            26.2 %
Metro area density            1,078 people
per kilometer *

Photo by Sam Beebe, CC

Prev Next

9. Milwaukee, Wis.

City rank by population     30th largest
Carless population            19.9%
Metro area density            974 people
per kilometer *    

Photo by Peter Alfred Hess

Prev Next

10. Seattle, Wash.

City rank by population      22nd largest    
Carless population            16.6 %
Metro area density            1,169 people
per kilometer *

Photo by Bala Sivakumar, CC

Prev Next

11. Portland, Ore.

City rank by population     28th largest        
Carless population            15.3 %
Metro area density            1,362 people
per kilometer *

Photo by Ian Sane, CC

Prev Next

12. Los Angeles, Calif.

City rank by population      2nd largest 
Carless population             13.6 %
Metro area density             2,702 people
per kilometer *

Photo by Jeff Turner, CC

 
 

Related Articles

 

Enjoy this post? Share it with others.

 

X

Stay Connected — Free
Daily Email