Snack shack shut down after ex-employee's Facebook post, health - Tucson News Now

Snack shack shut down after ex-employee's Facebook post, health inspection

Issues that closed a snack stand at Foothills Mall. (Source: Rachel Boteo) Issues that closed a snack stand at Foothills Mall. (Source: Rachel Boteo)
Moldy cheese (Source: Rachel Boteo) Moldy cheese (Source: Rachel Boteo)
(Source: Rachel Boteo) (Source: Rachel Boteo)
(Source: Rachel Boteo) (Source: Rachel Boteo)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The Pima County Health Department closed a snack stand at the Foothills Mall following multiple complaints stemming from a former employee's Facebook post.

Rachel Boteo said she felt conflicted working at the Mrs. Fields Bakery because she didn't want to serve the customers but she also didn't want to lose her new job.

"I was embarrassed," she said. "I was ashamed...and I was thinking how can I serve this to customers?'"

After roughly two months, Boteo quit and shared everything she had documented in that time to her Facebook page.

She said she waited as long as she could. She claimed to have called the Pima County Health Department anonymously at one point.

The location had received a rating of "Excellent" in its routine inspection in February, according to county records. PCHD spokesman Aaron Pachceco provided paperwork from that inspection and one in April prompted by a complaint. 

He said the department received several more after Boteo's recent post. The inspector found an imminent health hazard at the Mrs. Fields Bakery and ordered it closed until all violations could be corrected, according to Pacheco.

Boteo's post included pictures and video of what appears to be moldy cheese and warm fruit, plus some images of dirty work conditions. Pacheco said inspectors are able to educate individuals about issues like food storage, but anything involving plumbing or bathrooms has to be a structural change.

A man working behind the counter at the business Monday morning stated that he was in charge but any comments would need to come from the owner. Health department records show that a man working there when the inspector arrived mentioned any complaints about the location were likely coming from angry ex-employees.

The business was closed by Monday afternoon. No calls from the man behind the counter or the business owner have been returned as of Monday evening.

The Director of Franchise Operations for Famous Brands International stated Mrs. Fields is a co-brand with another company at that location. Brian Mooney said the company was a minor brand there but it was not willing to accept anything less than 100 percent compliance to health standards.

Unaware of the Facebook post or the recent closure, Mooney shared the following statement:

Thank you for bringing this situation to or attention. I’ve been attempting to reach this store and franchisee all day, now I know why I have not been successful. The well being of our customers is our highest priority and following all standards is an absolute must. We will be taking immediate action. Again thank you for taking the time to bring to our attention. We wish the young lady working there had reached out to us so we could have been involved earlier.

Boteo said she hopes other service industry employees feel empowered to speak up for the safety and health of their customers as well. 

"I wasn't expecting to get so much positive feedback, like a lot of people, like thanking me and being so grateful," she said.

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