Restaurant Report Card for April 25: Man sick after meal

By Amy Davis, Investigative Reporter/Consumer Expert, adavis@kprc.com
Published On: Apr 25 2013 01:07:35 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 25 2013 07:13:21 PM CDT

April 25, 2013: A rat made an appearance during one restaurant's recent inspection and another restaurant is under the microscope after a customer got sick. Here are the complaints and inspections keeping health inspectors busy in this week's Restaurant Report Card. Amy Davis reports.

HOUSTON -

A rat made an appearance during one restaurant's recent inspection and another restaurant is under the microscope after a customer got sick. Here are the complaints and inspections keeping health inspectors busy in this week's Restaurant Report Card.

Jose Amstutz said he felt so sick last week he went to the hospital.

"I had abdominal pain. It was very severe," he explained. "I couldn't see what was wrong with me. I was scared."

Amstutz said he suspects food poisoning from Sharky's in Kingwood because he had eaten there the night before he started feeling bad. Once he was admitted to the hospital, he said he called the restaurant but he didn't think about reporting his symptoms to the health department.

"When I had gotten sick, I was just trying to get better," Amstutz told consumer expert Amy Davis.

"If you have a foodborne illness and we need to collect a specimen from you, the sooner the better," said Kathy Barton of the Houston Health Department.

To trace the origin of your illness, the Houston Health Department needs to collect a specimen before you take any antibiotic, and health inspectors need to get to the restaurant right away.

"We need to inspect quickly because the food product, if it is there, we need to be able to get a hold of it," said Barton.

In this case, Amstutz didn't report his illness until five days after he ate at Sharky's. An inspector stopped by the same day and issued a citation when he saw an employee handling food with no gloves.

"This is a violation," said chief sanitarian Carolyn Gray. "This is something that could cause a foodborne illness, but without confirmed analysis from the stool samples and other factors present in the food establishment, we can't confirm the illness."

Sharky's General Manager doesn't believe Amstutz's illness came from his restaurant.

"I'm sorry that gentleman got sick," said William Neumann. "It hasn't been confirmed that he got sick here. If it had been confirmed that he got sick here, the health department would be here doing follow-up inspections and so forth."

At the time of this web post, the health department was still waiting on test results.

The problem was more clear cut at La Silla Pollos Asados while inspecting the mobile food truck parked at Broadway near the La Porte Freeway. The health inspector said a rodent emerged from the drain of the sink.

At Food D'lite at 7736 Harrisburg, inspectors said there were roaches throughout the kitchen.

Kudos and an A+ this week for Three Brothers Bakery at 4036 South Braeswood and Irma's at 22 North Chenevert. Both restaurants had spotless inspections.

If you suspect you got sick after eating at a Houston restaurant, you should fill out this form as soon as possible so that health inspectors can investigate.

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