Viral Facebook video prompts restaurant inspection at Pho 999 in Denver

Posted at 11:53 AM, Jun 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-18 00:56:57-04

A Facebook video seen by more than 65,000 people has prompted a health department inspection at a Denver restaurant.

Kagome Levy posted the video on Facebook Wednesday.

“It didn’t feel normal. Why would you be chopping the meat outside,” said Levy.

She was surprised to find the employees didn’t really care that someone was filming them while they were prepping food outside.

In the video, Levy and another woman say they are outside Pho 999 watching two people, one with gloves, one without, squatting while apparently working with food on the pavement. While Denver7 hasn't been able to confirm what was happening while the women were recording — or when it occurred — we have confirmed that the health department sent an inspector to the restaurant at Peoria Street and 47th Avenue on Friday morning.

The Pho 999 manager claimed the employees were cutting tuna and salmon and said they were prepping for a personal family dinner.

Health inspection officials say it’s only a violation if the utensils used to cut the meat belonged to the restaurant. Inspection officials did say the fish was stored in the freezer next to customer food, which is a violation.

Health inspection officials plan to fine Pho 999 $500 for improperly storing food.

Health inspection officials say the restaurant was fined twice in the last year for repeat violations:

  • In July of 2015 they were fined $250 for improper storage of employee food/drinks.
  • In January of this year they were fined $500 for improper storage of employee food/drinks and improper cold holding temperatures.

Denver7 Investigates has obtained inspection reports for the restaurant and found repeated violations from 2014 to January 2016.

The violations include the following:

  • Employees are not properly washing their hands as needed while preparing foods and/or working with food equipment.
  • Observed dried food debris on the meat slicer and a heavy accumulation of grease on the shelves below the grill and on the food cart. 
  • In-use tongs stored with handles down in soiled bowl containing cracked shells of unpasteurized eggs.
  • A mop sink was backed up.
  • Shrimps [sic] rolls left out unrefrigerated on the service line and measured between 67F and 68F
  • No sanitizer bucket was observed in the kitchen or at the food prep line.

Denver7 called the restaurant for comment. The manager said they do not prepare food for customers outside the restaurant and indicated they may have been preparing food for the family outside.

She also said the restaurant is working with the health department.


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