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Health code violations at Trump's country club restaurant

© AFP/File | The table setting for US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping's dinner at the Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, on April 6, 2017

MIAMI (AFP) - 

It costs $200,000 to join and recent VIP guests have included the leaders of Japan and China.

But the restaurant at President Donald Trump's private country club Mar-a-Lago in Florida was cited for 13 health code violations during an inspection in January.

Inspectors found potentially dangerous raw fish and meat stored at above-regulation temperatures.

Ham, for example, was kept at as high as 57 degrees Fahrenheit (13.8 degrees Celsius) -- far warmer than the regulation 41 degrees Fahrenheit, according to information obtained by AFP.

That was among the violations detected by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation during the January 26 inspection at Mar-a-Lago.

Two weeks later, Trump hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the club, which has come to be called the Winter White House. Trump has spent practically every weekend there since taking power in January.

In the inspection reports, first revealed by the Miami Herald on Wednesday, regulators found that fish meant to be served raw or undercooked had not been treated properly for parasites.

The kitchen staff was told to cook the fish completely or throw it out.

Potentially hazardous foods like red meat, chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers, shrimp and ham were stored at higher than regulation temperatures, the inspectors found.

Among less serious violations of the restaurant health code, there was no instruction sign at the sink used by employees to wash their hands. And one employee failed to wear a hair net cap while cooking food.

"These infractions were part of a routine inspection and were not complaint-based. The infractions were corrected on site, and the establishment was immediately brought into compliance," said Stephen Lawson, communications director for the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

Management at Mar-a-Lago declined to comment.

Last week Trump also hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping at the country club in West Palm Beach on Florida's Atlantic coast for a summit meeting.

Local authorities are complaining about the cost to them of Trump's visits: air space must be shut down and streets are blocked off by the US Secret Service, hurting the tourism industry. These authorities want the federal government to reimburse them for the lost revenue.

© 2017 AFP