KCBS story: hard to swallow

On the sweeps scale, this may not pull in viewers as much as “The Great Panty Hose Test” or “Escalators That Kill,” but the news unit at KCBS has uncovered information that may actually mean something to Southern Californians.

A four-month investigation of safety and cleanliness violations at L.A. County’s 20,000 restaurants by reporter Joel Grover has uncovered some disturbing findings — chiefly the fact that nearly 30% of area establishments either failed or rated poorly on routine Health Dept. inspections.

Grover got hold of the department database that keeps restaurant inspection info from July 1995 to June 1997. Violations most often cited included insect and rodent infestations, employees licking their fingers and then handling food, a lack of soap in staff washrooms and instances of raw meat sitting out for up to eight hours.

Said Grover, whose reports are skedded to air on KCBS during the 11 p.m. newscasts Sunday and Monday: “When we confronted inspection officials on camera, not only were they stunned to see the extent of the unsanitary and unsafe conditions in some of L.A.’s best and oldest restaurants, they said they wouldn’t eat there themselves.”

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