Restaurant Report Card for Sept. 6: Off-temperature food

HOUSTON - City of Houston health inspectors found dangerous mistakes that could cause food poisoning in restaurants across the city.

Food that is off-temperature is the No. 1 cause of food poisoning. Federal safety standards require cold food to be held at 41 degrees or colder. Cooked food should be at least 140 degrees. Any temperature in between falls into a danger zone because it allows bacteria to grow at an exponential rate.

At The Veranda at 2820 Chestnut Ridge in Humble, inspectors found creme brulee, garlic spread, cheese and other desserts stored at 55 degrees for more than two days, inspectors said.

Health inspectors said turkey, salami, ham and milk were among 135 pounds of food found at 60 degrees at the Jack in the Box at 8767 South Main.

Inspectors said the most hazardous discovery was at Lecaroz Bakery on South Post Oak near the Beltway. Inspectors wrote that they found 175 pounds of raw pork sitting in the kitchen sink for more than 4 hours at 71 degrees.

"You understand that that's way too warm to cook and then feed to somebody?" consumer investigator Amy Davis asked the manager on duty at Lecaroz.

"Oh yeah," Juan Andrade answered. "But they were not going to do it."

Andrade told Davis the chef planned to cut up the pork and refrigerate it, but he forgot about the meat. Andrade said Lecaroz would have never served it to customers.

It's a good idea to cool off with a cold drink if you're outside in the heat. But at a concession stand in the Houston Zoo, inspectors said they found a dead roach in a bin of ice used for visitor's drinks.

Inspectors said they found pink slime was on the ice chute at the Whatburger on 290 near Hollister.

Inspectors said there was dark residue in the ice machine at Brio in City Centre. Inspectors said they also found slime residue on the soda gun holders in the bar.

Our A's this week go to Lupe Tortilla at 318 Stafford and the Houston Barbecue Company at 1127 Eldridge Parkway.

To see a complete list of restaurant violations in the Houston area, visit www.click2houston.com/restaurantinspections. How To File Restaurant Complaint We get our information from the city of Houston Health Department, but many of you have complaints about restaurants in other cities and counties. Refer to the following list to find out which agency to contact depending on the location of the restaurant: * For all complaints about restaurants located in the city of Houston, call 311 or file the complaint online. * Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services inspects and permits all retail food establishments in the unincorporated areas of Harris County as well as in the cities of Tomball, Katy, Jacinto City, Galena Park, La Porte, Morgan's Point, South Houston, Seabrook, El Lago, Southside Place, Hunter's Creek, Piney Point, Bunker Hill, Jersey Village, Spring Valley, Deer Park, Humble, Waller, and West University Place. If you believe you have become ill from ingesting food from an establishment in unincorporated Harris County or in a city inspected by Harris County, please file a complaint at http://www.hcphes.org/eph/foodcomplaint.ht or call them at 713-274-6300. If you are concerned about a food establishment's operations such as cleanliness, food handling procedures, etc., please file a complaint at http://www.hcphes.org/eph/complaints.htm. * To file a complaint about a restaurant in Montgomery County, call the Montgomery County Health Department at 936-539-7839. * To file a complaint about a restaurant Galveston County, call the Galveston County Health Department at 409-938-2300. Use this link to speed the process and file your complaint electronically, or send an email to mentringer@gchd.org. * To file a complaint about a restaurant in Brazoria County, contact the Brazoria County Health Department. * To file a complaint about a restaurant Fort Bend County, contact the Fort Bend County Health Department. * To file a complaint about a restaurant in Sugar Land use this link or contact the Senior Sanitarian at 281-275-2278 or email foodinspection@sugarlandtx.gov. If you have a news tip or question for KPRC Local 2 Investigates, drop them an e-mail or call their tipline at (713) 223-TIPS (8477). Copyright 2012 by Click2Houston.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.