Restaurant Report Card: Mouse droppings throughout Pueblo food pantry


In this week’s Restaurant Report Card, mouse droppings found throughout a Pueblo food distribution facility, along with holes chewed through packaged foods, forcing the building to be shut down. And on the positive side, a food truck with no critical violations since opening.

Following a complaint from a volunteer at Compassion Food Bank of Pueblo, a health inspection on January 30 revealed 18 violations, including:

  • Mouse droppings throughout the entire facility. 
  • Prepackaged foods with holes from mice chewing on them. 
  • Dirt, filth, and mouse droppings on food contact surfaces. 
  • Milk not being held under refrigeration for one month’s time. 

“There was no water hooked up, so that means there was no handwashing available nor restrooms available for workers, and no electricity and generators were being run inside for heat,” said Vicki Carlton, program manager at Pueblo Department of Public Health & Environment. 

A follow-up inspection the next day showed none of the violations had been corrected. 

This is why Compassion Food Bank fails our Restaurant Report Card. 

FOX21 reached out to the operator of Compassion Food Bank, Larry Ocana. He told FOX21 he feels the health department has an agenda and is creating issues. 

“As part of the retail food inspection program, every place that serves food to the public, whether that food is given away or sold, so our goal is for safe food to be served to the public,” Carlton said. 

Ocana said a local church agreed to allow Compassion Food Bank to use their building for distribution, and that all entities, including the city, have okayed this. But, Ocana claims, the health department is standing in the way. 

“It was proposed by the operator of Compassion Food Bank if they could distribute food out of a church while they are working on this address on Abriendo, and the answer to that is yes, but it is required to be inspected by the health department, as well as the distribution truck that goes into that location,” Carlton said. 

If you rely on Compassion Food Bank and are affected by its closure, there are about 20 food pantries and distribution centers throughout Pueblo County. The Pueblo Alliance for Food Access has compiled a map showing their locations. Find it at Pueblo Food Finder.

The health history is neato at Juanita’s Burritos. 

It’s a food truck located across the street from the Walmart on West Northern Avenue. 

“You know there’s a persona with food trucks that they’re roach coaches, they’re not very clean,” owner Juanita Romero said. “It’s hard to explain to people that that’s not the way it is.”

Family-owned and operated, Juanita’s Burritos has been open for about a year now. 

“My family eats out of this truck, my kids eat out of this truck, I eat out of this truck,” Romero said. “This is my home.”

Romero was born and raised in Pueblo, and wants to continue giving back to the community that has given her so much success. 

“I feel really good about people coming in and seeing that I grew up on the east side and I overcame all of the obstacles that I’ve been through in my life, and it made me where I am and it put me in the position that I’ve really accomplished a lot,” Romero said. 

This is why Juanita’s Burritos passes our Restaurant Report Card. 

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