Several health code violations found at Iowa City’s Red Ginger, Soseki Cafe

The Johnson County Department of Public Health found over 100 health code violations at restaurants in April. The violations were mainly concentrated in inadequate employee hand-washing and food debris left on blades.


Lillie Hawker

Red Ginger is seen in Iowa City on Saturday, April 30, 2022.

Eleanor Hildebrandt, News Editor

Johnson County Public Health found 134 health code violations in April at 39 establishments, revealing several issues with adequate hand-washing and debris on food blades at various restaurants.

Red Ginger on South Gilbert Street had 12 violations during its April 1 inspection. Individuals in charge could not ensure that employees were effectively cleaning their hands or sanitizing equipment. Employees were also not trained in food safety protocols.

The report did not say if any alterations were made to improve these conditions.

Inspectors also found a food worker washing their hands with single-use gloves on and continuing to work with the pair of gloves. A person in charge told the employee to discard the gloves and they washed their hands correctly.

Some prepared items did not have expiration dates displayed. Two sanitizing solutions were made too strong and the person in charge diluted them until they were at the correct concentrations for use.

Iowa City’s Soseki Cafe had 14 violations during its routine inspection on April 26. Employees were observed improperly washing hands without soap and not washing hands after removing single-use gloves used for handling raw fish items.

Soseki Cafe is seen in Iowa City on Saturday, April 30, 2022. (Lillie Hawker)

Some employees also used single-use gloves with both raw and cooked rolls. A person in charge was notified. It is unclear from the report if any behaviors were altered.

Raw fish was stored above ready-to-eat items in sushi coolers at the establishment, but an employee rearranged the shelves after an inspector commented on the placements.

Dried food debris was also found on the blades and the meat grinder plate. Someone in charge stated that the machines were not used recently.

The Bluebird Diner in Iowa City received seven violations on April 20. An employee did not wash their hands after washing dirty dishes. Another did not discard gloves after handling raw eggs.

A meat slicer in the basement of the diner also had dried debris on the blades. Bacon was also held at the wrong temperature near a grill top. The inspector mentioned better storage methods to a person in charge.

Mosley’s on South Gilbert also had seven violations. The restaurant had multiple overdue sauces in a walk-in cooler, but an employee voluntarily discarded the items. An ice machine lip had excessive build-up as did a meat slicer on the premises.

There was also no certified Food Protection Manager employed by the site.

REALTED: Johnson County Public Health finds various health code violations at Iowa City’s Szechuan House, Hamburg Inn No. 2, India Cafe

Outside of Iowa City, North Liberty’s Rancho Nuevo had 11 violations during its April 19 inspection. The restaurant had inadequate written procedures in case of bodily fluid spills. A person in charge said the procedures were verbal according to the report.

Raw bacon was stored in a walk-in cooler above ready-to-eat carnitas, shredded chicken, queso, and chicken broth, but an employee moved the bacon to ensure no cross-contamination occurred. Dates were also missing from house-made foods in the establishment.

North Liberty’s Reds Alehouse had seven violations during its April 13 inspection. The establishment had non-continuous cooking procedures for its chicken wings, with no procedures written or submitted to the county for approval.

House-made sauces were held beyond their seven-day limit and a person in charge discarded the items voluntarily. Some steak and egg dishes lacked disclosure that they might be served undercooked.