During a routine health inspection in late January, Ming’s Chinese Restaurant – a Victoria staple for over 60 years – racked up four violations and appears to have been shut down as a result.
In a report from Vancouver Island Health Authority dated Jan. 25, the Quadra Street facility was given a high hazard rating – the most severe on the scale – meaning “significant problems were noted related to food handling and/or sanitation procedures.”
A facility deemed highly hazardous “significantly increases the risk of food borne illness” and “may close … if conditions worsen or the operator fails to eliminate the hazards,” according to VIHA.
Environment Health Officers conduct regular health inspections at food facilities that sell or serve food to the public, gauging restaurant sanitation practices, assessing equipment and making sure food is properly stored and cooled.
Ming’s was found to be in violation of one critical requirement – improper cleaning, sanitizing of equipment and utensils. “Hot water tank is not functioning. No hot water is available. Operator agrees to close restaurant until hot water is available,” the report reads.
Three non-critical violations including poor hygiene, improper construction and maintenance of establishment, and sanitation requirements were also found.
Management failed to provide liquid soap and paper towels at hand sinks, overhead lights were not operational in the kitchen, food and other items had been stored in improper environments. And, under the food safety plan, Ming’s failed to provide thermometers for coolers, thereby not recording daily temperatures.
According to their website – which is still active – Ming’s has been “serving up traditional Chinese cuisine for over 60 years.” In 2015, the restaurant closed briefly, citing renovations, but appeared to re-open under new ownership with few changes.
As of April 2, the iconic white building on the corner of Quadra and Johnson streets was surrounded by a metal fence, prohibiting access to the entrance.
Calls to Ming’s Restaurant resulted in a notification that the phone line had been disconnected.