Just two weeks ago, a video posted to Facebook showed a Subway restaurant employee swatting and zapping bugs over uncovered food.
Since it was posted, the video has now been viewed nearly 100,000 times and shared by almost 1,700 users.
The incident occurred in the Franklin Subway, located at 2120 E. King St.
The location accepts Franklin College Ben Bucks, which are dining dollars that can be used at select area restaurants.
“It didn’t look good,” said John Bonsett, Johnson County Health Department Administrator. “You shouldn’t be doing that.”
The Health Department immediately sent an inspector to the restaurant once the story went viral.
“Having flies in your restaurant is a violation,” Bonsett said. “In the summertime, we’re going to have flies in our restaurants. Then it gets to a point of when is it serious enough that you’ve got to start addressing the problem.”
When he first saw the video, Bonsett became concerned that there were potentially larger flies being zapped.
Their inquiries discovered that the bugs were little fruit flies or drain flies, which typically come out of floor drains and over-ripened fruit.
The one question inspectors are still unsure of is if the food was actually uncovered when the zapping occurred.
“If you zapped one and it disintegrated, where did it go?” Bonsett said. “Was everything covered? We don’t know that, but it was a poor practice.”
In their initial investigation, Bonsett said they were taking a look at two potential health code violations: the presence of insects and not protecting food contact surfaces.
The state’s Retail Food Establishment Sanitation Requirements state the presence of insects, rodents and other pests should be controlled to minimize their presence on the premises.
Another requirement says food should only contact surfaces of equipment and utensils that are cleaned as specified in other sections of the code.
But after Bonsett paid a visit to the restaurant, the health department deemed the evidence wasn’t enough to close the location.
“We did not order the restaurant to close,” he said. “[They] closed under their own proactive measures. They wanted to be aggressive in their compliance because this was bad publicity for them. This Subway had a good track record.”
The Subway temporarily closed after the incident. They re-opened early last week.
Franklin College Food Service Director Les Petroff said, when he heard the news, he checked with the health department on the situation because the location does accept Ben Bucks.
Senior Evan Vernon said he might eat at the Subway again, but only if he knows changes were made to improve the restaurant’s sanitation.