Food Safety Issues at South Carolina Restaurants
Many of us enjoy having dinner at a favorite restaurant or picking up food at a drive-thru during lunch. When we buy food from a dining establishment, we assume that the food is safe for consumption. Sadly, that is not always true. Take, for example, an incident involving a 58-year-old man who ate chicken, turkey, dressing, and apple cobbler at a restaurant in Camden, South Carolina. A few days later, the man was dead from food poisoning. In 2020, a 70-year-old man ate fried rice and chicken wings from a café in Greenwood. He shared the meal with his wife and sister-in-law. All three became ill by that evening. By the next morning, the man was dead. Tragically, it was his final meal.
Many South Carolina residents have become ill from food from restaurants. Some have even died. This is because many establishments have been cited numerous health code violations. Yet they continue to operate, putting customers in harm’s way.
In May, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control cited a Lexington County restaurant for various food safety issues. But this wasn’t the first time this restaurant’s safety practices had been called into question. The restaurant had been in trouble with the department on more than 20 other occasions. Records reveal that the restaurant had racked up $12,500 in fines since 2017. Nevertheless, the restaurant remains open seven days a week, despite previous issues with black grime buildup in the ice machine, open containers of food sitting under cobwebs, and expired food.
Reports from 2019 until 2023 show that 250 restaurants across the state have been fined repeatedly for health and safety hazards. Infractions may include a wide range of violations, from roaches crawling around food-prep areas to food sitting out in unsafe temperatures. Yet many of these eateries continue to operate without serious repercussions.
This appears to be the case for an Anderson County restaurant. A restaurant inspector entered the restaurant in 2016 and reported finding food sitting above safe temperatures and many other issues. In July 2022, the restaurant had the same problems but still continued to operate.
In the Midlands region alone, 46 food service providers in Lexington and Richland counties have been fined and ordered to correct issues since 2019. These establishments include restaurants, grocery stores, and gas stations. Of those, only seven have permanently closed.
Most South Carolina restaurants take their obligations to prepare and serve food in a safe manner seriously. While no one wants small businesses to be harmed by unnecessary regulations or aggressive enforcement, the safety of the public must be paramount.
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Eating out can be a fun experience, but not when you become ill with food poisoning. Unfortunately, many people have died from food issues at their favorite restaurants.
When food is prepared properly, food poisoning issues should not exist. If you or a loved one has been a victim, seek legal help from the Columbia products liability lawyers at Simmons Law Firm. We can assess your case and hold the appropriate party liable for your damages. To schedule a free consultation, call (803) 779-4600 or fill out the online form.