Golden Panda Buffet Faces Closure After 20 Health Violations: A Pattern of Neglect Emerges

Golden Panda Buffet, a dining establishment in Zephyrhills, Pasco County, finds itself in troubled waters once again as it has been ordered to shut down following a routine inspection on January 23, 2024. This marks the latest chapter in the restaurant’s history of non-compliance with health and safety standards, with a total of 20 violations revealed during the inspection. The closure comes as a consequence of critical and high-priority findings, showcasing a pattern of neglect that has persisted despite previous temporary closures in the last 12 months.

Golden Panda Buffet has been grappling with compliance issues, evident in its recent closure and a string of previous incidents within the last year. Records indicate temporary closures on March 16 and 17, 2023, and October 19 and 20, 2023. Additionally, the establishment faced an $800 fine on May 25, 2023, due to violations uncovered during inspections. The recurrence of closures and penalties points to a consistent failure to meet health and safety standards, raising concerns about the restaurant’s commitment to rectifying these issues.

Critical Findings: Vermin, Sanitization Failures, and Roach Activity

The recent inspection exposed a range of concerns, from basic maintenance problems to high-priority health hazards. Critical findings included the presence of vermin, with the establishment failing to take effective measures against their entrance and breeding on the premises. Another significant issue was the misuse of chemical sanitizers, posing a direct risk to food safety. The inspector’s report painted a grim picture, detailing a “black/green mold-like substance” in the ice machines, unsecured gas tanks, and extensive evidence of roach activity in various areas of the restaurant.

Disregard for Regulatory Compliance: Operating After License Suspension

One of the most alarming violations noted during the inspection was the establishment’s operation after the issuance of an Emergency Order of Suspension of its license. The report highlighted the restaurant’s severe disregard for regulatory compliance and public health. The inspector explicitly stated that the operator, De Lin, continued to allow customers access to the buffet tables and dining areas even after being informed about the suspension order, demonstrating a concerning lack of adherence to legal directives.

A recent customer review mirrored the inspection findings, describing a subpar dining experience characterized by cold food, poor service, and unclean facilities. The customer account included details of water on the floor beside a bucket, creating a slipping hazard. This firsthand testimony aligns with the inspector’s observations, reinforcing the gravity of the restaurant’s non-compliance and its impact on the customer experience.

The closure of Golden Panda Buffet serves as a corrective action, compelling the establishment to address and rectify the cited violations before it can resume operations. The list of high-priority violations, including issues with dish sanitization, operation after license suspension, and roach activity, underscores the immediate need for comprehensive corrective measures.

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In conclusion, the repeated closures and violations at Golden Panda Buffet paint a concerning picture of neglect and non-compliance. The restaurant’s pattern of failing to meet health and safety standards raises questions about its commitment to rectifying issues and ensuring a safe dining environment. The closure acts as a crucial step toward corrective action, emphasizing the imperative for the establishment to prioritize regulatory compliance and the well-being of its patrons.

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