These Horrifying Stories From Restaurant Health Inspectors Will Make You Glad We Have Health Inspectors


Considering how often we read horror stories about restaurants, it’s a wonder that anyone goes out to eat at all. But for some reason, not even the idea of hair in our food (or possible spit, if we’ve pissed off the server) will deter us from dining out — as long as it means that we don’t have to cook or wash the dishes. Salmonella? We’ll take it!

Until now! (Maybe. But probably not. Still, it’s Halloween, let’s keep things dramatic!)

Beware: the following anecdotes — taken from an Ask Reddit thread about terrible restaurant violations — are truly awful. In fact, after reading them, you may never want to eat anywhere but your own house again, even if it’s a life-and-death situation. How could eating out be a life-or-death situation, you may be wondering. Well, just check out this story about a hair-raising hospital kitchen:

Former Inspector here. I once discovered a rat infestation in the kitchen of a hospital. They asked me if I could prove my “suspicions.” I pointed out the numerous foodstuffs with 1″-2″ circular holes chewed in them, but they didn’t seem convinced. I showed them the trail of droppings and footprints coming and going from a hole in the floor drain, but they didn’t seem convinced. I showed them the three dead rats I had discovered under and around equipment. I think they began to believe me at that point. Citations included rat infestation, and absolutely deplorable cleaning practices.

Or this one, about everyone’s favorite restaurant:

Used to have a job working as an inspector for storage tanks at places like dairies and factories. Went to a cheesecake factory once to test a milk storage tank. It had just been cleaned and was being prepped to be filled with a tanker full of milk. I noticed the floor of the tank was covered in bleach. It turned out, the floor manager couldn’t be arsed to spend the time sucking out the rest of the cleaning fluid used in the cleaning process and, as standard, just filled the tank with milk on top of a dozen gallons of bleach.

What could be more delicious than something warm and deep-fried?

My uncle is a health inspector in rural Australia. He got several complaints about a fish n chips shop in a small town in Victoria, with reports of it being a bit grotty and people getting chunks of hair in their hot chips.

So he rocks up one day unannounced on a blazing hot day in the middle of summer, and the owner greats him and shows him around wearing a white singlet top with sweat patches under the arms, short shorts and no shoes. This guys body was covered in hair. Not just on his arms and chest, but his back and neck were like a werewolf. Clearly, this must be the source of the hair in the chips. My uncle decides to make a tactful comment about having wear appropriate clothes when working, so as to protect against hot oil burns.

After seeing the property and giving a few basic suggestions, the only other thing he notices that needs immediate attention is the deep fryer itself. The oil is old and filthy, and likely full of this guys hair, so he orders the bloke to drain it out right then and there. The owner does so, and at the bottom of the oil vat is a dead, deep fried and crispy….cat. Totally unphased, the owner simply said “oh, that’s where my cat went!”

What’s more terrifying, though? A deep-fried feline or ceiling chickens?

My favorite chinese restaurant got shut down. My ex-wife worked for the city and i asked her what was the deal. She said the health inspectors found sometbing leaking from the celling. They lifted the ceiling tile and shined a flash light and saw multiple eyes staring back at them. It was chickens. They were raising chickens in the celing and chicken shit was dripping in the food that I had been eating at least once a week.


My friend was inspecting a restaurant – walked out the back to find a man stirring a huge pot of curry. With his arm. No spoon or anything, just up to his hairy elbows in curry.

Okay, this one is a little cute:

My stepdad used to be a baker in an authentic recreation of an 18th century New French fortress. Because they sell bread to the public, the health inspector came by, and she was ripping into my stepdad for violations like the stonework walls, the doorless entranceways, or the lack of a mosquito zapper. He pointed out that they were following the highest standards except for things that would destroy the authenticity of this 18th-century bakery. The health inspector relented and agreed to give him a pass after verifying the food storage area was secure. They went to the shed, which was a doorless building attached to the bakery. As the health inspector went in, there happened to be an escaped cow licking all of the loaves. My stepdad could only say, “Honestly, this never happens.” They passed the health inspection.

But it’s only meant to lull you into a false sense of comfort as you read this, the most awful health violation fails of all time:

Health inspector here. I worked on the private side auditing 29 different chains in the US. I did a couple inspections a day for a little under three years. I have hundreds of stories.
1. I can smell roaches the second I walk into a building (if they’re present). They have a nutty oily smell that is very distintive if you’re around them often enough. That’s a smell you never forget.

relevant story: I was in a popular buffet chain and couldn’t find the roaches I smelled. I looked everywhere. I called my buddy who was a pest control officer. he came in, grabbed a LARGE shop vac and said “move fast”. he lifted off the back of the soft serve ice cream machine and they poured out like a waterfall all over the floor. We got them all cleaned up. Soft serve ice cream machines all leak and typically they’re not cleaned well. hot, wet and dark is the perfect place for an infestation.
3. People don’t know how to properly cool a cooked product

relevant story. I saw a 5 gallon cambro of rice in a walk in with no date. i asked how long it had been cooling and they explained for several days. Knowing that rice is incredibly difficult to cool, i asked them to dump it out onto a clean table. The smell of death (clostridium) filled the air. that rice would have probably killed someone.

Anyone hungry?

(H/T: Bro Bible)

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