TUPELO – After food inspectors found 10 critical violations on Monday, Barnhill’s Buffet closed its doors permanently.
“We have been receiving complaints about the restaurant, so we made an inspection (Monday),” said Mississippi Department of Health spokeswoman Liz Sharlot. “There were a lot of critical violations. … from improper food storage to insects to leaking pipes.”
In its annual inspection in February, the restaurant on South Gloster had passed its inspection, she said.
On Monday, following up on the complaints, Sharlot said MDH conducted a joint inspection of the restaurant with two environmental inspectors.
Among the violations:
• Hands were not cleaned and properly washed.
• Food was not separated and protected.
• Food contact surfaces were not properly cleaned and sanitized.
• Sewage waste water was not properly disposed.
“The violations provided a public health hazard,” Sharlot said.
While the department doesn’t have the power to shut down a restaurant, it does provide the owners an opportunity to solve the issues. Some can be resolved right away while others cannot.
In this case, Sharlot said the owner, whom she did not identify, volunteered to close the restaurant to make the necessary correction.
“However, the owner called the department a couple of hours later and said the restaurant will be closed permanently,” she said.
With records dating back to 2008, Barnhill’s has made a “C” on four previous inspections, with many violations like those found on Monday.
The state Department of Health regularly inspects restaurants and food facilities, and the facilities are graded from A to C.
“A” is the best. A “C” is the equivalent of failing, but the inspection isn’t necessarily serious enough to merit the closure of the restaurant. Corrections can be made immediately and the facility can remain open.
However, after a “C” grade, the highest grade a follow-up inspection can receive is a “B,” even if the facility is in compliance on every category.
In the previous “Cs” given to Barnhill’s dating back to 2009, the restaurant received a “B” on follow-up inspections.
In a failed inspection in February 2012, the restaurant was cited for not separating and protecting food, as well has for having “insects, rodents and animals.”
A failed inspection in December 2011 showed sewage waste water was not properly disposed.
In February 2010, Barnhill’s was cited for five violations, including not having hot and cold water available with adequate pressure and not having plumbing installed with proper backflow devices.
And in October 2009, was cited with three violations, including an insect/rodent presence.
All these violations were repeated in the most recent inspection on Monday.