The South Dakota Department of Health (SDDOH) has initiated formal legal action against a Yankton food service establishment following two failed health inspections.
JoDean’s, located at 2809 Broadway, received a rating score of 76 with two critical violations during its routine health inspection last September. At its follow-up inspection in December, the business received a rating score of 65 with five critical violations.
The latest scores were recently made available to the public on the SDDOH website at doh.sd.gov.
Generally, a score below an 80 triggers a re-inspection in 60 days to make sure all identified violations have been corrected. When a facility fails a routine inspection and then fails the subsequent follow-up inspection, the SDDOH initiates formal legal action, according to Bill Chalcraft, administrator for the SDDOH Office of Health Protection.
“Inspection score is not the only factor in determining a failed inspection,” Chalcraft wrote in an email to the Press & Dakotan. “We take the nature and severity of the specific violations into account when determining whether or not a facility has failed. It is also quite common that many of the violations noted during inspection are actually corrected during the inspection.”
He added that formal legal action is typically a hearing before an administrative law judge, but said he couldn’t comment further since the action is still pending.
JoDean’s owner Jack Nielsen told the Press & Dakotan that the failed health inspections came as a shock to both him and his employees.
“I’m very concerned about it. This is my livelihood,” he said. “I’ve been in this business for over 40 years, and we’ve been proud of what we do here.”
Before last September’s inspection, JoDean’s previous three routine inspection rating scores were 90, 90 and 94 with no critical violations.
Nielsen said that he had not been able to reach SDDOH officials since learning of the legal action Tuesday, but that steps had been taken to correct the violations.
The critical violations from December’s inspection were:
• Spray bottles containing Windex cleaner were not labeled. Nielsen said these were the only spray bottles in the establishment, but would now all be labeled;
• A sink’s backflow prevention was called into question. Nielsen said the sink had a built-in backflow preventer, but more equipment has now been installed;
• A handwashing sink was broken. Nielsen said it has been fixed, but other handwashing sinks were available in the same area at the time;
• Meat from an unapproved food source was found at the facility. Nielsen said an employee was storing the meat, which was labeled “not for sale or use,” at JoDean’s for later use during the holidays at her home;
• Raw chicken had been placed above cooked ribs, which could lead to cross-contamination. Nielsen said employees are aware of procedures to avoid cross-contamination, but one employee inadvertently placed meat in the incorrect location.
Despite the recent health inspection concerns, Nielsen stressed that he believes JoDean’s remains a safe environment for consumers to visit.
“If anybody is concerned, they are more than welcome to come out and inspect my kitchen,” he said.