Header graphic for print

Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption

Romney Ad Blames Obama for Closure of Restaurant with Health Violations

An ad by the Romney campaign airing in Virginia since last week blames President Obama’s economic policies on the closure of a barbecue restaurant chain known to have a history of health code violations, according to a ThinkProgress report.

The ad, titled “Bill’s BBQ,” suggests that restaurant chain Bill’s Barbecue had to close its final three locations because of Obama’s failure to improve the economy during his first term. The company announced the closures of their remaining locations in September after 82 years of business. At its peak, Bill’s operated 13 restaurants.

“Things have not changed. The pattern is no different now except for worse than it was four years ago,” company owner Rhoda Elliott said in the ad. “We can’t stand four more years like it is today.”

A look at health inspection records updated as recently as 2009, however, shows Bill’s Barbecue locations have been cited for multiple critical and non-critical health code violations over the years. Records show repeated instances of food being held at improper temperatures or stored in ways that could foster cross-contamination at a number of locations.

A 2009 routine inspection at a Richmond location found “Minced pork noted not being adequately cooled to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.” That same inspection found that “One employee stated washing and rinsing is done from faucet (without sanitzer) because drains can’t be stopped (they can). Another stated hot water is used as a sanitizer, but water temp peaks at 94 degrees and there is no booster on the sink.”

At another Richmond location in 2006, inspectors found four critical violations, including sewage not being disposed of with an approved disposal system. Later that year, the same location was cited for another four critical violations, including having a number of soiled surfaces. Surfaces of an ice machine “used to prepare/store potentially hazardous food items were observed soiled with accumulations of food residues.”

When news came that Bill’s was closing shop, the Richmond Times-Dispatch noted that three other barbecue chains in the area were expanding this year.

© Food Safety News