Trumbull health inspections: One perfect score, one fail

TRUMBULL — Local schools continued their tradition of earning high marks on health inspections, while one Trumbull restaurant was issued a failing grade in April.

Cooper Surgical’s canteen at 95 Corporate Drive received a perfect 100-point score. Middlebrook Elementary School and Christian Heritage School also received scores of 98 on their inspections.

Failing was Sitting Duck Tavern, which received a four-point violation for having dented cans on its shelves.

Sitting Duck Tavern Co-owner David Rutigliano acknowledged the violation, saying that the cans had been damaged in shipping, and the dents had gone unnoticed when the cans were unboxed. The cans in question were discarded during the inspector’s visit.

“It shouldn’t have happened, but that’s the code,” he said.

Health inspectors visit restaurants quarterly and grade them on a numerical scale with 100 points being a perfect score. Inspectors deduct between one and four points for any one of 62 possible violations. Any score under 80 is considered a failure, as is even a single uncorrected violation of a four-point risk factor.

Inspectors issue four-point deductions for violations such as improper food-holding temperatures, damaged food cans and inadequate hand-washing facilities. Lesser violations can include leaving scoops in the ice machine, missing or inaccurate food thermometers and uncovered trash cans. Restaurants that receive four-point violations can be required to correct them on the spot. For the most severe violations, the restaurant can have its license revoked and be shut down.

Although seemingly a minor violation, dented cans are a significant health concern, health officials said. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends discarding any can with a dent more than a finger-width deep and any can with a dent on any seam.

The primary danger of serving food from a dented can is the potential spread of botulism, a rare but serious illness that attacks the body’s nervous system. It can result from air and bacteria entering a can through a pinhole-sized opening.

In April, Trumbull health inspectors visited seven restaurants, issuing scores from 81 to 100. The complete list of inspection results is as follows:

Christian Heritage School: 98.

Cooper Surgical, 75 Corporate Drive: 99.

Cooper Surgical, 95 Corporate Drive: 100.

Middlebrook School: 99.

Prime 111: 93.

Sitting Duck Tavern: 81.

The Taste Garden: 95.