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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -
Update: The restaurant passed inspection on Tuesday, Nov. 20, and was allowed to reopen by the Kansas City Health Department.
The Kansas City Health Department has closed a westside restaurant after a health inspector found a fully intact dead buck inside a basement freezer.
Los Alamos Market and Cocina at 1667 Summit St. cannot reopen until the restaurant owner meets with health inspectors to work out concerns.
Owner Agustin Juarez told KCTV5's Emily Rittman that a customer on Thursday asked to put a deer in the basement freezer for a few hours. By Friday, the customer had not picked up the deer but a health inspector came by at 12:45 p.m. Friday and undertook a 2 1/2 hour inspection.
An employee told the health inspector that ice was normally stored inside that freezer.
Juarez said he is working to prove the deer was killed legally and was not contaminated. He said the deer will go to a processor.
He stressed that the dead deer never came in contact with food.
"All of the time it was in the freezer in the basement," Juarez said.
Out of an abundance of caution, Juarez said he will dispose of the freezer.
In addition to the dead deer, the health inspector found numerous other issues. Those issues included employees not properly washing their hands and one employee preparing tamales with bare hands rather than using a glove. Raw meat, cheese, sour cream and salsa were also not property stored. Dead and live roaches were seen in the basement.
The health department came back on Monday to re-inspect the restaurant, but didn't reopen it because of concerns that the deer had not been properly disposed of. They also want to make sure there was no cross contamination between the deer and food served to the public.
The health department is requiring written proof that a professional disposal company removes the deer and disposes of it rather than the owner just giving the deer away.
Juarez said he is working hard to get all the issues corrected because he said his family and his employees depend on the restaurant for their livelihood. He said employees won't be paid while the restaurant is closed.
He said he appreciates his faithful customers and promised to get the restaurant reopened as soon as possible.
"We're not hiding anything. We are still here and we hope we can see them (customers) as soon as they give us the OK," Juarez said.
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