South Florida restaurants being ordered shut due to flies

'It is a small amount of bacteria, but there is a risk,' professor says

By Jeff Weinsier - Investigative Reporter

MIAMI - Local 10 News has discovered more and more South Florida restaurants are being ordered shut because they have flies.

While many people say it's no big deal, it is.

Giardino's Gourmet Salads at 13775 W. Sunrise Blvd., which is just east of the Sawgrass, was recently ordered shut because of a fly issue.

"For me, it's minor," said a person who owns and operates the Giardino's Gourmet Salads location. "I took care of it in a matter of hours."

An inspector observed live flying insects landing on food items in a food prep area and nesting on clean utensils in the dishwashing area.

According to state records, so far this year, 44 kitchens have been ordered shut due to fly issues, and it's only the middle of June.

Remember, they land on and like to eat feces, rotting trash and animal carcasses. Those germs get caught in their legs and their bodies and can be transferred when they land on food.

"It is a small amount of bacteria, but there is a risk," Dr. William Kern said. "In South Florida, it's possible you will pick up E. coli, maybe salmonella."

Kern is a University of Florida professor who specializes in urban pest management.

"One of the biggest problems we have is restaurants that have a back door opened," Kern said.

More than half of the restaurants Local 10 News shows up at for Dirty Dining reports not only have the back kitchen opened, but there is a dumpster near by.

"If they are in the ooze of the bottom of a dumpster, they are more likely to be encountering all kinds of bacteria, and they are essentially wading in it," Kern said. "We don't know where they have been."

Soya Sushi Bar in Doral was also recently ordered shut. There were 36 violations at the restaurant at 11402 NW 41st St.

Live flying insects were landing on sushi rolls, scallions and mango sitting on a cutting board.

The owner said fly traps and fumigation got rid of his recent problem.

"The most important thing is to find out where they are breeding and eliminate the source," Kern said.

A Blaze Pizza location in Davie installed an air curtain that blows down and out when the door is open so the flies can't get in.

A Dunkin' Donuts location has a bug light inside.

The next time you get an upset stomach and the runs, don't rule out the possibility that something could have landed on your food and had a taste before you did.

For a complete list of all the places ordered shut last week, click here to visit the Dirty Dining section.

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