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Dollar deal for avoiding food safety compliance gets attention

Thursday, January 12, 2017 23:17
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The just-convened Colorado Assembly may be asked to close a loophole in state restaurant regulations during its 120-day session.

In late December the owners of Eden Pho, a restaurant in Weld County, were told they needed to fix problems identified during inspections by local inspectors or the county commission would close down the business.

But the restaurant owners found another option that forced the county to dismiss the violations and start over. They sold Eden Pho — for $1. Because it was under new ownership, it remained open with all its existing problems.

There’s apparently flexibility now in state law. The Weld County Commission has opted to allow new owners to start anew in regard to compliance with food safety rules because they say to do otherwise would hamper normal sales, and that such “sneaky” sales are rare.

Six violations involving critical public health violations at Eden Pho in Evans, CO, were identified during an inspection in October 2016. Also, the restaurant failed an inspection in December 2015. County health inspectors have been working with the restaurant to bring it into compliance, but the best it has done are “C” and “D” grades.

The Colorado Assembly was called to order Wednesday in Denver. No new bills have yet been introduced concerning restaurant inspections. The regular session is scheduled to continue until May 10.

Last year, the Assembly approved and Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law a wholesale remake of the state’s retail food establishment regulations, leaving the $1 sale option open.

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