The kitchen at the Mar-a-Lago Resort in Palm Beach, Florida was found to have incurred several health code violations in a January 26 inspection. The resort is owned and frequently visited by U.S. President Donald Trump. Undercooked meat and insufficient employee handwashing were among the ten violations reported by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Despite the multiple violations, inspectors did say that the restaurant met the minimum requirements to stay open.
The highest-priority issues highlighted by the report, which was unearthed by The Miami Herald, were poultry, duck, rice, beef and ham stored in a walk-in cooler at a temperature higher than 41 degrees, the maximum temperature allowed by Florida law. Some ham was even found to have reached 57 degrees. The restaurant told inspectors that the reason was an accidental activation of the cooler’s “defrost” setting. Inspectors called the storage “potentially hazardous”.
The restaurant’s fish dishes were also targeted by the inspection, as the report noted that fish was raw or undercooked, and had not been put through the protocol for parasite destruction. Additionally, the restroom did not have a lawfully-required sign ordering employees to wash their hands before returning to the kitchen, nor did the bathroom have hot water with which the employees could adequately remove bacteria from their hands. Other basic violations included a lack of a hand-drying device at the employee sink and employees who were not wearing hairnets during food preparation.
President Trump will be visiting the club on Thursday, and he has spent six weekends at the resort since taking office in January; this has given the resort the nickname of Trump’s “winter White House”. Membership into the club is worth $200,000, which makes these reports particularly troubling for Mar-a-Lago’s reputation. Trump has entertained several foreign leaders at the club, including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.