Massive piles of rodent droppings force closure of Ocala Chinese restaurant

A food court-based Chinese restaurant in an Ocala mall was forced to close last week after a health inspector cited eight violations.

The Mandarin Express in the Paddock Mall, located at 3100 College Dr., was closed Friday after a health inspector cited eight violations, the most egregious of which centered around rodent droppings.

The most egregious issue recorded Friday at the Mandarin Express in the Paddock Mall, located at 3100 College Dr., centered on rodent activity in the facility, as evidenced by rodent droppings.

The inspector reported finding “approximately hundreds” of rodent droppings on the floor of a dry storage area where flour, sugar, canned food and season in plastic containers was kept, according to a report on file with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

The Mandarin Express Chinese restaurant, which was closed by a health inspector last Friday, is located in the Paddock Mall’s food court in Ocala.

The inspector also reported three intermediate violations. One was for an employee using a handwash sink to fill a pot. Another was for not properly filing renovation plans for a dry storage area. And the third was for the restaurant not having proof that employees had gone through required state-approved training.
The inspector also cited four basic violations that included:

  • Sauce buckets stored on the floor at the cookline.
  • Multiple employee drinks on a prep table and above equipment.
  • Employees’ personal food not properly identified and segregated in walk-in and reach-in coolers from food to be served to the public.
  • A cracked lid on a container of chicken in a walk-in cooler.

The inspector returned later in the day and found three violations still in place. Those were for the cracked lid on the container of chicken, renovation plans for a dry storage area not properly filed and no proof of employees receiving state-approved training. But the restaurant was allowed to reopen at 6:06 p.m. after being closed for almost four and a half hours.