La Tonalteca restaurant allowed to reopen after health violations

DOVER — No roaches were seen dead or alive, a state health inspector wrote Tuesday in a report after a third enforcement visit, and the La Tonalteca Mexican restaurant at 245 S. DuPont Highway was allowed to reopen after ordered closed due to violations last Friday.

The Delaware Division of Public Health Office of Food Protection inspector underlined “you must have pest management spray every week! (until further notice!)” in the report that gave the OK to resume business. The inspector asked to restaurant to “please email pest management schedule.”

An attempt to reach La Tonalteca for comment Tuesday was not immediately successful. A person who answered the phone at just after 2 p.m. said the restaurant was not open at the time and a manager was unavailable to speak before taking a reporter’s contact information.

A complaint led to last week’s inspection that deemed the restaurant to be out of compliance with “Insects, rodents and animals not present” and “Toxic substances properly identified, stored and used.” The toxic substances item was corrected on site according to the inspector.

According to the report, the initial complaint received last Thursday claimed “roaches at your establishment.” The complaint was quoted as alleging “A friend of mine says they still have a bad problem with roaches.”

During an inspection from 2 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Friday, an inspector wrote that live and dead roaches were seen in the bar area and dry storage area. Dead roaches were found in the “food prep area, all throughout the kitchen …”

The observer then saw “Raid household bug killer in restaurant” that was “corrected on site” and “thrown away.”

While “pesticide tracking powder” was seen “throughout the restaurant,” an inspector determined “This is not to be used in a restaurant. Please clean.”

Food preparation operations were ordered stopped “due to roach infestation and cleaning and sanitizing needed after pest spray.”

A re-inspection was ordered for Monday and a $150 fine pending if dead or live roaches were located, according to the inspector.

The Monday inspection found that a live roach was still on the premises “and still numerous dead roach carcasses.”

“You must move equipment and all food from the kitchen and clean,” was the inspector’s followup order.

Also mandated was “Remove all food from bar … and throw away and clean the entire refrigeration unit.

“The unit must be repaired prior to opening. Water from condenser leaked on floor and is running all over the floor.

“Food must be thrown out due to spraying by pest management and exposed to chemicals.

“You will be assessed another fee, $150, tomorrow if debris or roaches observed.”

The report stated that another complaint about roaches would subject the owner to a hearing at the Office of Food Protection.


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