Moldy habanero peppers tossed at Las Colinas

Hot peppers and raw beef were discarded during a recent routine inspection at Las Colinas Mexican Restaurant in Lithonia.

The habanero peppers in the walk-in cooler had mold on them, and the raw beef, on a table next to the grill, was too warm at 78 degrees.

Among other violations, the restaurant was using unapproved cooling methods. For example, queso, refried beans and cooked beef were cooling in large portions at room temperature. Instead, the foods were transferred into stainless steel pans in smaller amounts, placed on ice baths and relocated to the freezer for rapid chill.

Several foods in a reach-in cooler were above safe temperatures. Ice baths raised the temperatures of pico de gallo, tamales, sour cream and raw beef.

The hand sink was used as a dump sink at the wait station. There were no date markings on food kept longer than 24 hours, as required.

Las Colinas, 6120 Covington Highway, scored 71/C and will have a follow-up inspection. The restaurant’s previous score from 2020 was 87/B.