City shuts down Bayside bagel shop after finding multiple sanitary violations

Photos by Jenna Bagcal/QNS

The city has closed a Bayside bagel shop following a recently failed restaurant inspection.

On March 6, Top Bagels at 40-18 Bell Blvd. displayed a bright yellow sign from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) ordering that the shop close its doors. According to DOHMH records, the store scored a 67 during its February inspection.

Records on the agency’s website indicated that they inspected the shop on Feb. 11 and subsequently found seven sanitary violations. Top Bagels was found in violation of the following with red denoting “critical” offenses:

  1. Hot food item not held at or above 140º F.
  2.  Raw, cooked or prepared food is adulterated, contaminated, cross-contaminated, or not discarded in accordance with HACCP plan.
  3. Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Filth flies include house flies, little house flies, blow flies, bottle flies and flesh flies. Food/refuse/sewage-associated flies include fruit flies, drain flies and Phorid flies.
  4. Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.
  5. Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred.
  6. Wiping cloths soiled or not stored in sanitizing solution.
  7. Facility not vermin proof. Harborage or conditions conducive to attracting vermin to the premises and/or allowing vermin to exist.

The lower a restaurant scores, the better, according to DOHMH. Scores fall into three categories: public health hazards, critical violations and general violations.

The Health Department’s guidelines state that public health hazards, such as failing to keep food at the correct temperature are 7 points, critical violations like failing to wash raw foods (i.e. salads) before serving them are 5 points and general violations such as not properly sanitizing cooking utensils is 2 points.

Inspectors give additional points to reflect the violation’s extent — level 1 violations are the least extensive and level 5 violations are the most extensive.

“For example, the presence of one contaminated food item is a condition level 1 violation, generating 7 points. Four or more contaminated food items is a condition level 4 violation, resulting in 10 points,” according to the Health Department website.

Every year, the Health Department inspects 24,000 establishments each year to ensure that they comply with city and state food safety regulations. Following an inspection, restaurants with scores between 0-13 earn an A, scores between 14 to 27 earn a B and those with scores of 28 or higher earn a C rating.

In some instances, some inspections are scored but not graded with a letter. The agency monitors restaurants that initially perform poorly and forces them to shut down for “serious and persistent violations.”

Records show that the bagel joint had earned 10 points during an inspection in February 2018, which earned them an A rating.

The following disclaimer is posted on the DOHMH website: “The scores presented for recent inspections may not be final. Restaurants are entitled to a hearing to challenge citations issued by the Department, and successful challenges may result in a change to the score and/or grade issued at the time of the inspection. Some of the scores presented here may reflect inspection results that are being challenged but have not yet been adjudicated; the Department will update the information if it changes.”

A call to Top Bagel was met with a busy signal. No one responded when QNS visited the location on Thursday.

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