COLUMBIA - A Target 8 investigation into city/county restaurant inspections found 17 restaurants with reports of insects present in food prep areas. Inspections of the 457 restaurants KOMU 8 News examined are found on the City of Columbia's website.
KOMU 8's investigation started after two restaurants were shut down in Columbia Mall's food court in October. Famous Cajun Grill was cited with 30 violations -- 11 non-critical and 19 critical -- including "roach infestation present" and "roach feces present."
The other restaurant in the food court was Stir Fry 88, which was shut down on the same day-- cited for "roaches present," along with 36 other violations.
Columbia Mall's management noted, "The safety and well-being of our visitors are of paramount importance to us. Food vendors, whether at a mall or elsewhere, have a responsibility to operate under the highest of health and safety trends. We support and cooperate fully with all health department inspections of food vendors. Anytime a violation or infraction is discovered we require and expect our food vendors to take immediate corrective action. The restaurants are currently closed as a result of the franchisee having their franchise agreement terminated. Both restaurants are going thru a remodel and training of new employees and management."
KOMU 8 News spoke with a local pest control company about the insects present in Boone County restaurants.
"The number one hot spot is going to be pulling out the refrigerator out looking in that motor compartment, they love it back there," Steve's Pest Control's Glen Hoerschgen said. "Nobody bothers them. There's moisture, or condensation coming off of coils back there so they have water and a good place to hide."
Out of the 17 restaurants cited for insects, six had roaches present including El Maguey on Conley Rd., New Jingo's, McDonald's on Broadway in Ashland, and Tequila Mexican Restaurant.
KOMU 8 News contacted each restaurant to comment on most recent violations.
After multiple attempts, El Maguey Mexican Restaurant managers refused to comment.
New Jingo's management said, "We have cleaned up since the last health inspection. We have Steve's Pest Control regularly check our store about every three weeks."
McDonald's on Broadway in Ashland's management said, "McDonald's takes cleanliness in its restaurants very seriously which is why we consistently have good inspection reports. We contract with a local pest control company for regular visits to help us maintain a healthy and safe dining environment. They were called immediately for service, even though no live insects were found. Additionally, a machine leaking a small amount of water was repaired and sealed to prevent attracting pests. Our follow up inspection had zero violations."
Tequila Mexican Restaurant managers said, "Management contacted Steve's Pest Control immediately... They come regularly to address any issues and we have not had a problem since the original incident."
If critical violations are not fixable on the day of the original health inspection, the health department can come back to re-evaluate the restaurant. If the re-evaluation still has problems, the health department has the ability to shut the restaurant down.
REPORTER NOTE: After airing this Target 8 Investigation Monday, New Jingo's management contacted KOMU 8 and wanted to change the frequency of when Steve's Pest Control checks the restaurant. Instead of every three weeks, the restaurant is checked every two weeks for pests.