Health officials in Gibson County inspect restaurants but, in recent years they have not been issuing fines when violations are found. That is now about to change. Inspectors say they're taking extra measures to bring food retailers up to code.
It's 2 p.m. in Princeton where Bill Mayfield is about to close shop, but not without cleaning and putting his small restaurant back in order for the next day.
"Well if you think your house is clean. You know you clean your house the way you want to live in it. Basically you do the same thing here. Don't just say ah, that's good enough", Mayfield says.
Good enough is actually substandard according to the book of codes that the Gibson County Health Inspector showed Eyewitness News. Citations will be given to dozens of establishments that continue to have critical food safety violations.
Health Inspector William Tulley says, "to quit going back to establishments time after time after time".
Inspectors say Mayfield runs a clean shop and he has not been cited for critical violations.
Tulley hopes that all restaurants will follow the example of mom and pop restaurants like Crickett's here on the Princeton Square because they mostly recieve non critical SCORES from the health department.
County Health Nurse Kelly Kelley says "the situation that we're having to deal with are people not doing the right thing and continue to not do the right thing".
The department finds that knowing what the right thing is to do is sometimes lost on employees preparing the food.
Kelley says the department is simply trying to keep restaurants from being forced to shut down. Especially, when customers make allegations food from a specific restaurant made them sick.
"So we educate the population too and perhaps let restaurants off the hook if they are accused unrightfully so," she added.
"If it looks dirty, it probably is dirty!",Mayfield added.
Mayfield plans to continue following his routine to keep his business clean --everyday.
"Everyday you have to sweep, everyday you have to mop, you have to disinfect things. You know we bleach this counter every day, we mop the floor everyday", He said.
And invest in sanitizers rather than pay hefty fines.
The Gibson county Health Inspector says that fines could range any where from $25 to $1000 per fine per day for violations.
Eyewitness news also obtained a list of the establishments with critical violations that can be found here.
Report by Fadia Patterson
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