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article imageGolden Corral Restaurant raw meat by dumpster video goes viral

By JohnThomas Didymus     Jul 9, 2013 in Food
Brandon Huber, a Golden Corral employee in Port Orange, Fla., posted two videos to YouTube that reveal disgustingly unsanitary practices at the restaurant. Warning, the videos may dampen your appetite for Golden Corral's "all-you-can-eat" ribs.
The videos which have gone viral online with over 2 million views show raw meat including pot roast, baby back bacon ribs and burger patties piled in trays on metal serving shelves outside in the tropical Florida sun next to garbage.
Brandon, 22, dressed in full work attire explains that the pile of raw meat was left outside near garbage to avoid health inspection. He claimed the meat would be returned to the kitchen to prepare food for buffet customers once the state inspection officers have left.
He explains in the 2-minute video: "Apparently, what my company likes to do to get ready for inspections, is put their food by the dumpsters. Look at all these flies, to me this is disgusting. I’m an employee here, been working here for a long time, and I don’t feel that this right."
He shows the raw meat swarmed by flies by the garbage.
He continued in the second video posted on July 7 (see both videos above): "I cook this food every day and now I see what is involved. As an employee here, I would not eat this stuff. If this is what the Golden Corral in Port Orange does, I don't want to think what every other Golden Corral around the world does... Why is this restaurant still open serving maggot smack and fly trialing to the people of Port Orange?... I’m scared of my employment. I don’t know who to tell but I don’t want to cook this food. I don’t feel safe with it. My management is gonna’ wheel it back into the coolers after the inspection, like nothing happened… I will show this to whoever I can to prevent any food-borne illnesses from spreading."
Predictably, the video went viral on YouTube and Reddit almost immediately, with a viewer commenting, according to ABC News, that Huber was the "Edward Snowden of the buffet business."
The video also left the Golden Corral franchise struggling to explain to the public its version of what happened. According to the owner of the Port Orange restaurant, Eric Holm, who, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal, owns 27 other Golden Corrals outlets in Orlando and Atlanta: "None of these items were served to a single customer."
The company told Consumerist: "A video was recently posted showing an incident of improper food handling at our Port Orange, Florida location. None of these items were served to a single customer. All were destroyed within the hour at the direction of management..."
The statement claimed that Brandon Huber also "participated in the disposal of the food." According to the restaurant, the manager involved has been terminated for "failing to follow approved food handling procedures."
The restaurant also claimed that Huber's father tried to extort the company by offering to sell his son's video to them for $5,000. The company said in its statement: "The father of the employee posted an offer to sell the video for $5,000, which was not accepted."
The restaurant alleged extortion and blackmail and brought the video to the attention of the police.
However, William Huber, 46, told the police that his son posted the video to YouTube only because he was concerned that the restaurant was "mishandling of food prior to serving its customers." According to the Daily Mail, William Huber said he posted the video to eBay with a $5,000 asking price only as a way of attracting attention to it. He said the video has since been removed from eBay.
The New York Daily News reports the police investigated the allegation of blackmail and said they found no evidence for it and referred the video to the state restaurant inspectors. Investigator Jeff Wenzel said the video was "posted to the public for whomever wished to have the information" and that "no crime had occurred because no one was trying to elicit anything from him (Holm) or Golden Corral."
Investigations also revealed that Brandon Huber had been arrested three times in a period of six months in 2010 for burglary and possession of marijuana, according to the Daily Mail.
A spokesman told the Dayton Beach News-Journal that the state's Department of Business and Profession Regulation was investigating the video. Tajiana Ancora-Brown said the department's division of Hotels and Restaurants was "looking into it...[investigation] is in progress."
The US Department of Health and Human Sciences says bacteria growth on meat can double every 20 minutes that raw meat is left unrefrigerated and that meat left in temperatures higher than 40 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours could become infected and cause food-born illness, the Daily Mail writes.
The same franchise was cited for violations of sanitary and safety laws in October 2010, ABC News notes. A Golden Corral franchise was shut down for 24 hours in January when inspectors found roaches around the restaurant. Another Golden Corral franchise in Port Richey, Fla., was shut down in 2010 after inspectors found rodents under the buffets, on dry food and in the kitchen.
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