Great Moon Buffet exterior in West St. Paul

Health Violations Plague Great Moon Buffet in West St. Paul

Thanks to Blue Sky BookkeepingDakota Countyand West St. Paul Chiropractic for their support.

Great Moon Buffet in West St. Paul has had four salmonella outbreaks between 2018 and 2021, according to media reports and lawsuits.

Multiple illnesses: Six people became ill during a November 2021 outbreak, prompting the most recent lawsuit from an Eagan man. In the summer of 2021, 17 became ill resulting in a lawsuit from an 11-year-old girl that was settled.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) would not comment on the case or release inspection reports, citing the pending lawsuit, but media reports offer details of the alleged violations:

  • A dead rodent and rodent droppings in a water heater closet near the food prep area.
  • A live cockroach in the buffet area.
  • Dead insects were found behind the dry racks.
  • Incorrect food storage temperatures.
  • Employees using a bucket of water and reused towel to wash and dry their hands.
  • Splatter from raw chicken in a mixer device going onto nearby bags of flour and peppers.
  • Raw eggs stored at room temperature next to uncovered lettuce.
  • A blocked-off hand-washing station.
  • Grease and grime dripping from equipment that had fresh pasta stored below it.
  • The restaurant also continued to use a spray hose to wash the floor, despite being ordered by MDH to stop its use.
    (Accounts taken from Star Tribune and Minnesota Lawyer articles)

After a December 2021 follow-up, inspectors noted issues “were even worse than on previous inspections,” according to the Star Tribune.

MDH ordered the restaurant to close to address issues, according to Minnesota Lawyer. After another follow-up inspection in January 2022, “MDH has said that they cannot ‘remember a worse offender’ than Great Moon Buffet.”

Current status: It’s unclear where things stand now since MDH won’t comment, though they have the power to order fixes and issue fines up to $10,000.

“If conditions at an establishment are found to present an imminent, immediate health risk to the public, MDH can issue a cease and desist order, or bring an action for injunctive relief in district court,” said Doug Schultz, an information officer with MDH.

No response: Great Moon Buffet did not respond to repeated requests for comment, though they told the Star Tribune they denied the allegations.

Other complaints: The City of West St. Paul has received multiple complaints about the smell from Great Moon Buffet, but never found anything that violated city code. The city has no jurisdiction over health issues, which are the domain of MDH.

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