Chinese Restaurant Kitchen in Pennsylvania Found With Deer Brains, Spines, and Organs . . . But Allowed To Stay Open

untitled-19We have previously discussed the relatively lack food safety regulations for restaurants where even the most egregious violations seem to require minor fines or brief closures, like the Chinese restaurant in Kentucky found to be serving road kill. Now another Chinese restaurant vividly illustrates the disconnect after deer heads, brains, and other animal parts were found in the kitchen of New China House in Lititz, PA (among other violations). However, the restaurant will remain open and serving the public.

The owner has only been identified as “Chun” but the Department of Agriculture described a horror scene uncovered by the state Game Commission:

“PA Game Commission confiscated the following from facility walk-in cooler and freezer after operator was unable to provide documentation that game animal meats being used in the facility were from an approved source: deer brains, deer heads, skinned and whole tails, legs, muscle meat, spines, necks and other unidentifiable parts both raw and cooked. Amount of parts removed included: 4 trash bags, 2 boxes, 3 plastic tubs, one 5 gallon bucket and 9 trash bags of prepared foods. In addition, sampling of prepared food found in walk-ins were taken to be tested for species identification.”

The next day the restaurant was found to still be out of compliance with 14 violations, including “An uncovered, metal bowl containing an unidentifiable, internal organ of a pig, according to operator’s wife, was observed stored on shelf of walk-in cooler. Wife states that it is for her lunch however, documentation of source could not be provided. Discarded.”

Chun insisted that they do not actually sell the meat and bones and only eat them personally. We are supposed to trust them on that.

Despite this record, the restaurant continued to serve customers. The restaurant has been the subject of six investigations since 2013 and four in 2015 alone.

Again, I am not sure that I know what it takes to shutdown a restaurant, but it seems to me that such outliers harm the overall market for restaurants (since this really makes me want to eat at home tonight). Yet, restaurants tend to oppose more stringent measures even though few establishments would ever come close to the conditions at the New China House.

Source: NY Daily News

30 thoughts on “Chinese Restaurant Kitchen in Pennsylvania Found With Deer Brains, Spines, and Organs . . . But Allowed To Stay Open”

  1. When I eat out in America I either eat at certain bars which serve hamburgers or I go to McDonalds. You can observe much of what is cooked.

    1. Beldar – they pre-cook at McDonald’s. If you want to actually watch them cook it you need to go to a neighborhood grille.

      1. @Pacul C. Schulte: “Beldar – they pre-cook at McDonald’s. If you want to actually watch them cook it you need to go to a neighborhood grille.”

        Even that may not be what it seems. I have seen more than one grill cook with a pan of nearly finished hamburger patties sitting in a pan of water. When new orders would come in they would flip the hamburger pattie on the grill and finish it off, plate it up and send it out – mmmm-good.

        As far as I know the hamburger at McDonald’s, and most other fast food restaurants, comes from massive food factories in the form of frozen, portion control patties.

        If you want to see a human grab up a bunch of raw hamburger, shape it into a pattie and plop it on the grill, you will probably have to go to a chain like 5 Guy’s – at least they used to do it that way.

  2. Grassland can be infectious for years, rendering it very difficult to control its spread.

    Which is why responsible ranchers will often burn off grassland or spent pasture to control the spread of the disease from the multitudes of deer who share the grazing lands. and to control invasive weed species that can be lethal to livestock and to horses. Star Thistle is one bad bugger in our area.

    Oh….wait….better not burn the grassland to improve it or save your cattle from infection….. or you will go to jail as a terrorist and have your grazing rights contracts stripped away and sold to someone else at a higher per acre price. :\

  3. And another note of concern is that the human form of “Mad Cow”, Creutzfeldt-Jacob, is transmitted via prions so infectious that not even an autoclave can kill it. That’s why they have to literally throw their instruments away when they operate on a human patient with CJ, and why hospitals must notify patients subsequently operated on when they discover after the fact that a neurosurgery patient had CJ. All of those patients were exposed, even though the instruments were properly sterilized.

    I do not know if CWD is so transmissible. But if it is, then that kitchen may have contaminated every meat prepared with the same instruments as the neurological tissue of the deer. Since it is transmitted through contaminated grassland, that remains infectious for years, it may indeed be resistant to cleaning. I am curious if they have determined this. Hopefully it does not share this characteristic with BSE.

    Nick – what is even more scary is the fact that he was a health inspector who had access to schools. I hope other terrorists don’t get any ideas.

    1. The human equivalent of Mad Cow takes on average 10 years to manifest or become symptomatic, then it’s 6 months to certain death as the body just shuts down. At the end the person is conscious and trapped with no way to communicate…almost akin to ALS. Had a very close friend die of it. The disease vector is usually blood contact. She had been a Navy Hospital Corpsman in a trauma setting before all the gloves and masks. The real diagnosis isn’t made until autopsy.

  4. BFM is absolutely right. This meat included nervous system organs considered high risk for Chronic Wasting Disease, which is essentially “Mad Cow” for dear, a form of transmissible encephalopathy. One of the differences between BSE, bovine spongiform encephalepathy (or Mad Cow) and CWD is that CWD is transmitted through grazing. Grassland can be infectious for years, rendering it very difficult to control its spread.

    Was the public informed? Did they get their Health and Safety rating reduced (to F?) Why is the restaurant still open? Do they give them a window for compliance in Pennsylvania?

    This is exactly the sort of thing that the Department of Health is supposed to protect the public from. Although I do wish they would relax their standard requiring a separate kitchen for preparing food for sale. CA did relax the requirements a bit for cottage food sales (, but it would be nice if they would be able to just inspect a kitchen, rather than require an entirely separate one.

  5. I am not sure that I know what it takes to shutdown a restaurant, but it seems to me that such outliers harm the overall market for restaurants

    You would hope that a restaurant with so many health violations would have had those notices of violations made public so that the patrons can be aware of the quality, or lack of quality, in the establishment. The public NEEDS to know so that they can make an informed choice.

    There are a ton TON of regulations that a restaurant or food processing company has to go through. About 20 years ago, we owned and operated with a business partner a smoked foods and bbq deli for about 5 years until we sold the business.

    We did smoked trout, buffalo, pork, chicken etc. First we had to build a facility for the smoking and had to go through the State of California’s stringent controls on how the building could be built and what sort of safety equipment etc etc etc. Inspections all the time. Not a problem. We were meticulous. After all ….we were going to eat the stuff too.

    The meat that we were using had to be certified as to origin and legality. We needed to have proof of our purchase and suppliers. For instance the trout we bought from a nearby (also State and Federal regulated) hatchery sorted by size so that all the finished product was the same size. Ditto with the buffalo meat and other meats.

    Employees were food handler certified and the smoked food operators had additional certifications. The inspections were constant at the processing plant and at the deli where the food was bought and served.

    It is and was very annoying that while we were toeing the line and being very careful to ensure our product was delicious and safe, other restaurants were slimy grease pits.

    I will say that reputable Chinese or other ethnic food providers are mostly ethical and are safe to eat at. I’m sure that they are p*ssed about this as well, because it will impact their patronage.

    BTW: MSG is harmless to almost everyone if used in the correct proportions. I cook chinese and japanese cuisine all the time and use it in my food, soups and seasonings on roasts. Umami….look it up. Don’t be afraid

    Deer brains. Not so much. We never ever ate the deer brains or anything to do with the nervous system like the spinal chord. Gross!!!! Deer liver can be good if the deer is a young one 🙂

  6. There appears to be a real tension between Mr. Chun and Kentucky game wardens regarding the length of time required for the outdoor curing of select organically-farmed and harvested meats.

    I suspect it will boil down to how Justice Kennedy uses his swing vote.

  7. I used to walk with my half blind human pal in a park in Saint Louis called Tower Grove Park. We would cross Grand Avenue and there was some water areas near that road, in the park, and these asian guys would set traps in there and catch rats, squirrels and other things. We followed them to a Chinese restaurant on the east side of Grand very nearby.
    The french eat frogs and we nickname them Frogs. The Chinese we nickname Ratsos.

  8. The only thing more troubling and outrageous than the deer parts found in this restaurant is the obvious incompetence, ambivalence, neglect and, most probably, corruption of officials, who are entrusted with policing these restaurants and protecting the public. The citizens expect these individuals to ensure the suitability of these restaurants, and the failure to do so, it appears, is a violation of the public’s trust. It’s not the fact that the inspectors didn’t find violations–obviously, they did–but actions, dating back years, reveal that the proper corrective measures have not been severe or substantial enough, in terms of consequences, to deter the continued and repeated violations at this particular establishment. I place the blame on the person with the authority to shutter these establishments because the inspectors are, at least in this instance, reporting the violations. I couldn’t help but notice that there is no mention of any prosecutors being involved in this case. Hmmmm.

    I had a case a few years ago where a client was the subject of a sting operation, whereby officials from the state’s wildlife department had sent out representatives, posing as random guys selling produce that they, themselves, caught, to unsuspecting establishments. My client took the bait, so to speak, several times, purchasing product from an unregulated source, for sale in his store. The state didn’t hesitate in prosecuting him, with fines, penalties and the threat to close his business if anything like this ever happened again. It scared him straight. He learned his lesson.

  9. The discussion in the kitchen between the restaurant owners and the inspectors, as money exchanged hands, centered around the provenance of the meat. “Was the animal hit by a truck?” “No, it was dead and fell off of the tluck.” “Well OK then, what’s for lunch.”

  10. All animals eat heavily contaminated food and most of them don’t live very long. Avoiding animal products increases health and longevity for humans.

  11. While this is troubling, what is also troubling is how fascist the govt. has become in the name of food safety. Remember, the San Bernardino terrorist was a restaurant inspector.

  12. Wtf….wto…..were did that stuff originate? Canada….mexico….maybe frozen from china…..thanx for the article…..never eating chinese again unless i cook it. Oops did i just break the law? Boycotting chineses food?

  13. Yep this establishment is really a mess. Now just sample the bus staff at various other sit-down restaurants. Ever watch reality shows that seek to save a food establishment? I think every kid should be allowed to eat mud pies. It’s immunity building. The story brings to mind a PBR river patrol (eons ago) where my chief petty officer told me to just eat what the RVN OIC fixed that night on the heat of the engines. In particular, if it moves just swallow it. Yep that naval advisor tour was an immunity building time…must have been…I’m still alive.
    So Jonathan, eat heartily…

    if it moves then just swallow
    it may be uncooked escargot.

  14. This is worrisome. Deer can get chronic wasting disease- a fatal disease of the nervous system. It’s related to bovine spongiform encephalopathy in cattle, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. The FDA enacted stringent regulations regarding brain and spinal cord material that is prohibited from being used as feed for cattle. We discovered that these types of diseases are transmitted by eating meat contaminated by brain and spinal cod material. Cooking doesn’t kill the pathogen. The pathogen is a protein. It’s called a Prion.
    The restaurant is taking chances with peoples lives.

  15. Thanks, but hold the msg and transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, please.

    ” To date, CWD (Chronic wasting disease) has only been found in members of the deer family. … The epidemiological study further concluded, “[a]s a precaution, hunters should avoid eating deer and elk tissues known to harbor the CWD agent (e.g., brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils, lymph nodes) from areas where CWD has been identified.”[2]”

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