The Boise Central District Health Department on Thursday suspended the food establishment license of Pho Tam restaurant, located at 1098 N. Orchard St., linked to five cases of Salmonella poisoning.

Pho Tam was shut down after health inspectors found two critical violations of food safety regulations and two other violations.

“Due to the violations identified today, we determined they were not demonstrating proper practices to prevent foodborne illness so we suspended their food establishment license,” health department spokeswoman Christine Myron said in an email sent to The Idaho Statesman.

The closure order came just a day after health department officials held one-on-one education training with the Vietnamese restaurant’s employees on proper food safety procedures.

Pho Tam has 15 days to contact the health department to request a compliance conference to discuss with owner Long Doan the major risk factors that were found and develop a plan to control the risk factors that could make customers sick.

At an inspection last June, health inspectors found five violations, two of them critical. The restaurant was written up for inadequate hand-washing facilities for workers and improper cleaning and sanitizing of food contact surfaces, both critical violations. The other violations dealt with thermometers, dishwashing machinery and the restaurant’s physical facilities. Two follow-up inspections in July found only one violation, dealing with the physical facilities. No violations were detected during a July 23 inspection.

The strain that sickened Pho Tam’s customers, Salmonella Schwarzengrund, is relatively rare.

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