SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

September 9, 2011

Denny's under Board of Health scrutiny

DANVERS — An anonymous complaint brought a health inspector to the Denny's restaurant at 152 Endicott St. last month, and the violations found so concerned inspectors that they summoned restaurant officials to a meeting of the Board of Health last week.

Violations included lack of a training program for proper hand washing and a plan to correct deficiencies such as a walk-in refrigerator found to be at 50 degrees Fahrenheit instead of 41 or less, according to health officials.

"That is humongous," Mark Carleo, the town's public health inspector, said of the too-warm refrigerator, because that temperature provides a breeding ground for food-borne bacteria to grow.

Representatives from Denny's came to the Board of Health meeting with a detailed corrective action plan, which the board accepted pending the review of Public Health Director Peter Mirandi.

There will be a follow-up inspection, and if Carleo finds the plan has not been implemented and the violations continue, the board could issue fines.

Health officials were particularly concerned because an inspector had visited the restaurant two days before the complaint was lodged and had warned them that the violations needed to be addressed immediately. When the Health Department received the complaint, an inspector returned and found the problems had not been corrected.

"A couple of days later, you find something exists, and those are the kind of things you need to correct immediately," Carleo said.

After the second inspection in August, the restaurant was given a week to produce a corrective action plan, and Carleo found it was inadequate. So three restaurant officials came before the Board of Health.

Among other things, Carleo found the restaurant's dish-sanitizer machines had concentrations of chlorine that were too high. There were also "housekeeping" issues the restaurant needed to address, which Carleo said included the need to come up with a training program to make sure employees routinely wash their hands. The new corrective action plan will give health officials a road map to make sure the restaurant is making progress.

The restaurant manager referred questions to Denny's corporate office, but several calls for comment were not returned.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter @DanverSalemNews.

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