WATERLOO – Public Health officials seized and destroyed food from four restaurants in the same Waterloo plaza following routine inspections.

The restaurants in question have been inspected several times over the past two months, and the Region of Waterloo Public Health says it has found multiple infractions, mostly from not storing food properly.

The owner of Grace and Healthy Dumplings, Kevin Zhao, says every morning, he or his employees go through a checklist before opening the restaurant.

"We start up the kitchen, turn on the stoves, turn on the gas," he explains.

But on Sept. 19, a health and safety inspector came into the restaurant for a routine inspection.

"The table top refrigerator wasn't reaching the required temperature, which is four degrees or below," he says. "Ours was reaching five or six degrees."

Zhao says the inspector had to throw out the food in that fridge.

"Typically we throw food away due to temperature control issues, where it's left out at room temperature, we call the danger zone between four and 60 degrees, for a long period of time," explains Aldo Franco, a health protection investigator.

He says that almost all of the infractions at the four restaurants were over temperature control issues.

Mizu Restaurant has received 24 infractions since September, having its food destroyed twice.

Grace and Healthy Dumplings had 19 health and safety infractions.

Second Cup got seven, while Mr. Yin had five. All four restaurants are in the same plaza at 150 University Ave. W.

Some passersby say the infractions are concerning, but Franco says people shouldn't be concerned.

"All the food premises in the region that we inspect are inspected by the same regulations, so if it's open, it's open," he says.

Zhao applauds the region for taking the inspections seriously.

"The health inspector is doing the right thing by keeping the standards very strict," he says.

Mizu Restaurant declined to comment. Neither Second Cup nor Mr. Yin replied to request for comment by air time.

The region says it does about 6,000 inspections each year, and that throwing out food is usually a last resort.