Chopstix cited for several health code violations

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Chopstix Chinese Restaurant, a hot commodity for college students all around the Milwaukee area, has been fined for three pages’ worth of health violations, according to a Feb. 11 report.

Although the restaurant on Milwaukee’s east side has a history of past health code violations, Chopstix has remained popular for its quick and convenient delivery service.

Chopstix received a total of 18 violations, amounting to a fine of $107. Three repeat violations from the last inspection by the Milwaukee Health Department included having chicken without an expiration date, a hole in the ceiling above the sink and hand-washing sinks containing grime. The health inspector made a note that there was no soap or towels available for employees to use, and new infractions included workers not washing their hands.

“Employees are not washing their hands, and there is no soap and no towels for them to use even if they tried,” the report said. “Employees must properly wash their hands using warm water and soap and dry their hands with single-service towels. Hands must be washed frequently whenever contaminated and before and after working with food.”

According to the report, the establishment also had a “severe fruit fly problem” in the area where food is prepared before being cooked. Chopstix was also fined for risks that could lead to contamination issues, specifically the sink and containers left uncovered.

When confronted on TMJ4’s “Dirty Dining” segment, a manager said the business hired an exterminator to address the fruit fly problem. She denied the notion that employees did not wash their hands.

The report also cited the restaurant for understaffing.

“There are more than five employees working, and none of them is the certified food manager,” the report said. “Whenever there are more than five employees working a shift, the certified food manager must also be present.”

The Tribune contacted Chopstix for comment, but no manager was available to comment as of press time.

Chopstix paid its dues and is not closing down. Restaurants in Milwaukee that are forced to close are usually due to rodents and roaches. Other restaurants have also temporarily or permanently closed due to outbreaks of E. coli and salmonella.

Marquette students were shocked at the thought that they had been eating food prepared in these conditions.

Clare McNamara, a freshman in the College of Business Administration, said a lack of handwashing should not be ignored, especially when there is food involved.

“This is very disturbing,” McNamara said. “It’s hard to believe that a simple task can go so unnoticed until now.”

Jane Unterberger, a senior in the College of Nursing, said that although Chopstix is not necessarily a five-star restaurant, it does have an obligation to keep customers safe.

“It’s gross,” Unterberger said. “I don’t think Chopstix is the epitome of high quality food, but it is also unacceptable for them to so blatantly disregard health laws. They are there for a reason: to keep us safe. By not following them, Chopstix is putting their customers at risk.”

“I think they should be shut down until they can meet health code,” Unterberger said.

The Chopstix website currently does not address the report and is advertising its new Japanese restaurant called Mizu.

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