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WNCN Investigates

After viral video: How do Triangle Golden Corral's rate?

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WNCN investigated local restaurant chain Golden Corral's health records after a viral video caught unsafe practices. WNCN investigated local restaurant chain Golden Corral's health records after a viral video caught unsafe practices.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

A video posted to YouTube this month with nearly four million views is putting the spotlight on sanitation at Golden Corral restaurants.

The video is from a restaurant in Orange County, Fla., where piles of rotten meat were left outside a dumpster, reportedly to avoid inspection.

The Raleigh-based chain has been dealing with the fallout ever since.

WNCN Investigates wanted to know what steps corporate is taking to ensure food safety, and how local Golden Corrals stack up.

Tuesday, Golden Corral stressed to WNCN, as it has since the video first surfaced, that the food shown in the video was never served to customers and the manager of that restaurant was fired.

But the video got WNCN Investigates looking into health inspection records for Golden Corral locations in the Triangle. After all, the chain is based on Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh.

We reviewed Wake County health inspection records for all the Triangle locations, and dug deeper into two of the Raleigh restaurants close to the corporation's headquarters.

At the location on Capital Blvd. in Raleigh, inspectors were last there on March 12 of this year.

They say they found:

  • Several items cooling improperly.
  • Several hot potentially hazardous foods out of temperature on the buffet.
  • Several cold items out of temperature.
  • Under-cooked food.
  • Managers cooking without hair restraints.
  • And water not hot enough to properly clean utensils.

The next stop was the Glenwood Ave. location in Raleigh, just down the block from the company's headquarters. The restaurant was last inspected by Wake County in November 2012.

Inspectors found:

  • The hand-washing sink with no soap.
  • Under-cooked steaks.

In a previous inspection from 2011: food debris and greasy film observed on pans and containers stored as clean.

Golden Corral declined a request for an on-camera interview. It did, however, release a statement:

"Since at least 2011, every Golden Corral restaurant in the Triangle area has received an A health inspection rating, the highest grade given by the State of North Carolina. We are proud of the consistent, high performance by our restaurant employees in the area. It is not unusual for restaurants with A ratings to have a violation noted during a specific inspection. We immediately work to address and correct each issue found when the inspectors are in the facility or very shortly thereafter. Golden Corral is committed to maintaining the highest operating standards at all of our restaurants."

Frances Breedlove, who oversees Wake County restaurant inspectors for the county's Department of Environmental Health and Safety, says a rating above 90 will earn a restaurant an 'A.'

The two locations cited in WNCN's report rated above a 90; however, an 'A' rating does not mean it's a perfect score and it does not negate the violations.

For example, the violations mentioned in the report can still result in an 'A' rating.

It is also important to note that inspectors say most of the violations found were immediately corrected.

To search Wake County's database of restaurant inspections, visit the link below: 

http://wake.digitalhealthdepartment.com/

Jonathan Carlson

Jonathan is an investigative reporter and anchor with over a decade of experience. Jonathan has broken stories that have resulted in local and statewide change. Contact our Investigative Team anytime HERE. More>>

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