On January 23, 2024, a routine inspection revealed that Golden Panda Buffet, a restaurant in Zephyrhills, Pasco County, had been ordered to close, adding to its history of non-compliance with health and safety regulations.
Twenty infractions were found during the inspection, which was publicized on Yelp and the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation. As a result, the facility had to be temporarily closed for another period by the regulatory authorities.
Issues With Pasco County Restaurant Inspections
In the previous 12 months, Golden Panda Buffet has closed on more than one occasion. The establishment was temporarily closed in the past after inspections on March 16 and 17, 2023, according to records.
These inspections also led to fines of $800 on May 25, 2023, for three infractions, and on October 19 and 20, 2023, for similar problems.
The Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation study states that the latest infractions cover a wide spectrum of concerns, from minor maintenance problems to serious health risks.
Important and High-Level Results
- One of the most important discoveries was the existence of vermin, for which the establishment was not taking appropriate action to prevent their entry and reproduction on the property.
- The improper use of chemical sanitizers, which did not adhere to the guidelines for surfaces in contact with food and so constituted a direct risk to food safety, was another noteworthy concern that was identified.
- The inspector’s notes paint a dismal picture of the state of the restaurant, mentioning things like a “black/green mold-like substance” in the ice machines, loose helium and carbon dioxide tanks, and a lot of evidence of bug activity—both dead and living roaches were discovered throughout the establishment.
- Live roaches were discovered, which indicated roach activity. One person living on the floor in the hallway using the restrooms One is living on the kitchen floor right outside the entrance.
- Thirteen live on the cook line’s wall and pipe behind the workstation. Around ninety live cockroaches are under the wok station on the shelf One lives in the second steam table on the dining area’s cove molding.
Additionally, the institution was cited for continuing to operate after an Emergency Order of License Suspension was issued, demonstrating a flagrant disrespect for public health and regulatory compliance.
Most Recent Customer Remark
A recent customer review, which describes the dining experience as disappointing with cold food, bad service, and unclean facilities—including a particularly worrying account of water on the floor next to a five-gallon bucket, posing a slipping hazard—echoes the inspection results.
This place deserves a visit from the health department. The dining room was gritty and dark, the food cold. There was a shortage of waitress service, as seen by the piled-high buffet dishes and the need to locate one to get refills.
A five-gallon pail was next to some water on the floor which would have caused a slippage danger. My spouse went to the dirty, broken-down restrooms. There will be no more snowbirds.
The persistent infractions and Golden Panda Buffet’s persistent disregard for health and safety regulations seem to indicate a concerning pattern of carelessness.
The restaurant’s closure is a remedial measure, and before it can reopen, it must address and make good on the breaches that were reported.
List of High-Priority Violations at Golden Panda Buffet Restaurant
High Priority: Improper sanitization of the dish machine. Until the dish machine is fixed and sanitized correctly, stop using it for sanitization and switch to manual sanitization. **Warning** Use dishwashing machine chlorine sanitizer at 0 ppm.
High Priority: The establishment continues to function following the issue of an emergency license suspension order. We spoke with operator De Lin about the order suspending the food license at 3:27. He says that if he doesn’t let them finish eating, they won’t pay. The operator is still letting customers grab food from the buffet tables and sit down to eat. **Complaint from the Administrator**
High Priority: An establishment that uses a sanitizing solution that doesn’t adhere to 40 CFR 180’s regulations. When certified sanitizer is not available for ware washing, only utilize single-service items to serve meals to clients. The three-compartment sink’s usage of bleach should not be applied to dishes or surfaces that come into touch with food **Warning**
High Priority: Live roaches were discovered, indicating the presence of roach activity. One person living on the floor in the hallway using the restrooms One is living on the kitchen floor right outside the entrance. Thirteen live on the cook line’s wall and pipe behind the workstation. Around ninety live cockroaches under the wok station on the shelf One live on the dining area’s second steam table’s cove molding **Repeat Violation** **Warning**
Intermediate: The handwashing sink is not equipped with paper towels or a mechanized hand dryer. **Warning** There are no paper towels available at either of the kitchen’s hand sinks.