Moldy ice machines and dripping grease problematic

About 3,000 Americans die from foodborne illnesses each year, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials estimate. In addition, 48 million get sick and 128,000 are hospitalized after eating bad food.

That's why Franklin County Health Department sanitarian David Fehlinger is tasked with inspecting county retail food establishments. In 2019's first quarter, he completed 49 reports.

Of those, six or 12.2 percent each earned one C, which stands for critical finding. That's double the fourth quarter's 6.3 percent, but better than the two previous quarters, 26.5 percent and 19.6 percent with serious problems, which could make customers ill if not corrected.

Two Subways got in trouble. The Batesville location didn't have a certified food handler and at the Brookville shop, the sanitarian found mouse droppings in cupboards under the soda dispenser next to the drive-thru window.

Three more Brookville spots had critical problems: Big Boyz Pizza, moldy ice machine interior; Brookville Food Mart, mildew on ice machine interior; Country Mark, rusty and chipping microwave interior.

In Laurel, Pavey's One Stop also had a moldy ice machine interior.

A dozen food establishments had noncritical problems – not quite as worrisome, but they still had to be corrected either immediately, the next day or by 14 days, according to Fehlinger's orders. That accounted for 24.5 percent of the inspections from January-March and on par with 20.8 percent in last year's fourth quarter and 20.4 and 21.4 percent in the two before that.

There was a tie for most NCs, four: Hav-A-Bite, Metamora, unprotected lighting in waitress station and above prep stations, ware washing machine not dispensing soap and sanitizer, dirty can opener and blade, and hair restraints not worn around exposed food; McDonald's, Brookville, dirty soda dispensing nozzles, splash area where nozzles attach and lobby soda machine ice chute, dirty frappe machine dispensing area, majority of kitchen flooring is greasy or dirty, and grease dripping from ventilation hood.

Six sites had two problems each: Batesville China Buffet, thawing chicken at room temperature, dirty walk-in refrigerator and freezer handles; Brau Haus, Oldenburg, dirty microwaves, dirty two-door reach-in refrigerator interior; Wagner's Village Inn, dirty microwave, grease dripping from ventilation hood; Arby's, Brookville, grease dripping from ventilation hood, dirty sweet tea nozzle; IGA, Brookville, moldy glacier water machine dispenser nozzle, grease dripping from deli ventilation hood; Lin's China House, Brookville, dirty salt, pepper and soy sauce table dispensers, grease dripping from ventilation hood.

Four each had one noncritical finding: Pizza King, Batesville, dirty salt, pepper and cheese table dispensers; Pizza King, Metamora, dirty fan covers and tray in rear of prep station; Laurel Cafe, dirty soda dispenser wand; and Pioneer Bar & Restaurant, Brookville, hillside behind the dumpster is littered with garbage.

Almost two-thirds of the sites inspected – 31 locations for 63.3 percent – excelled in the inspections with the sanitarian writing these words: "no violations noted." That isn't quite the recent record (72.9 percent in 2018's fourth quarter), but better than the two prior quarters, 53 and 58.9 percent.

Batesville businesses with perfect reports: Dollar General, Hampton Inn (now under new ownership as SureStay Plus Hotel by Best Western), Izzy's Catering, Kroger Co., Margaret Mary Physician Center, McDonald's, Pizza Hut, St. Mary's Tavern, Shopko (now closed) and Wendy's.

The rest with no violations: Kessing Haus Cafe and Pearl Street Pub, Oldenburg; Fireside Inn, Enochsburg; D&N Diner, Haspin Acres, One Stop Marathon, Pizza Station and Treehugger Maple Syrup, Laurel; Beebe Marathon and Cedar Grove Tavern, Cedar Grove; Brookdale Coffee Roasters, West Harrison.

Also, Brookville Ice Co., Coffee Off Main, Dollar General, El Reparo, Family Dollar, 52 Pik-up, Franklin County Senior Citizens Center, Lakeside Shell, Pavey's Phillips 66 and The Store in St. Peters, Brookville.

Debbie Blank can be contacted at or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.