ORLANDO, Fla. - An Action 9 investigation uncovers serious safety violations at many local restaurants that had already flunked state inspections, and one of those restaurants is inside a state office building, right next to the regulators.
WFTV's Todd Ulrich found many restaurants that fail inspections are not cleaning up their act.
Ulrich found waste water pouring onto the kitchen floor near food, uncovered egg rolls in rusting wire baskets and raw chicken on the cook line at very risky temperatures.
“Could this make somebody sick?” asked Ulrich.
“Yes, very much so,” replied retired inspector Paul Cook.
These are some of the violations Action 9's retired inspectors found at restaurants that had flunked state inspections, like broken plumbing at Kaleb's Kafe in Orlando, located inside the state office building, next door to the Florida agency that inspects restaurants.
There, the Action 9 consultant found the hamburgers were held at a potentially dangerous temperature.
“This would be classified as a critical violation,” said retired inspector Roy Costa.
Costa also found the walk-in fridge was broken and could breed runaway bacteria.
“They obviously need help there, Todd. They need help,” said Costa.
Action 9 analyzed 80,000 state inspections since 2011 to uncover top violators. That includes Koywan Hibachi in Altamonte Springs, Boston's Fish House in New Smyrna Beach, and topping the list, New Century Buffet in Merritt Island.
Inside New Century Buffet, Action 9's inspector spotted a grime-encrusted can opener, dirty dish water, minus any soap, and he called the cleaning solution a dangerous mix with times times the bleach limit.
“That is very toxic and can be very harmful to young children and senior citizens,” said Cook.
However, Cook also found some big improvements, including food temperatures inside the kitchen and on the buffet lines.
At King Buffet in Titusville, Action 9's inspector found risky temperatures for raw chicken, pork and shrimp.
“They've got to throw that out?” asked Ulrich.
“They have to,” replied Cook.
And inside the big fridge, Cook found filthy conditions and poorly stored food.
“This shrimp dripping into this sauce is cross-contamination,” said Cook.
“Is this a case of food poisoning waiting to happen?” asked Ulrich.
“Oh, yes. Without a doubt,” said Cook.
King Buffet and New Century Buffet managers said changes are underway to pass future inspections.
The State Education Department that oversees the Kalib Kafe contract has ordered several safety repairs since Action 9's visit.