Food safety inspectors visit LI restaurants

Inspectors from both county health departments dispatched food safety inspectors to restaurants in the wake of superstorm Sandy to ensure the establishments are serving properly stored food.

In Suffolk, 30 inspectors have been visiting as many as 500 to 600 restaurants a day since they first went out at noon on Tuesday, health department spokeswoman Grace Kelly-McGovern said.

"They are going in and making sure they are operating safely," she said. "And I'm told most of the restaurants know what they are doing and have discarded any food if they have been without power, or if they have been on a generator they have kept refrigerated food below 41 degrees Fahrenheit."


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Nassau health department spokeswoman Mary Ellen Laurain said teams of three specialists, one each from the departments of water, food and sewer, have been sent out throughout the county once it was deemed safe.

"They evaluate the food service establishment to evaluate if the food is safe for consumption," Laurain said. "Any food determined not safe for consumption is discarded immediately, and any food service establishment that does not have power is immediately ordered to stop all food preparation."

Kelly-McGovern said inspectors are leaving notices on restaurants that are closed that they must get permission from the health department before they can reopen.

Some violations also have been found, officials say.

In Huntington, for example, Finnegan's restaurant had to be shut down for food service Wednesday after the person in charge admitted to inspectors that the food it was serving had not been monitored and had been without temperature control since the restaurant lost power Monday, Kelly-McGovern said.

Calls to Finnegan's parent company, Lessing's, were not returned.

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