Could a restaurant inspection have prevented food contamination at Leawood steakhouse?

At least 130 people have contacted the Leawood police after a Kansas City man was arrested for allegedly tainting food at the Leawood Hereford House location. A restaurant inspection most likely could not have prevented this crime.

Jace Christian Hanson of Kansas City, 21, was charged Tuesday with one felony count of unlawfully adulterating or contaminating food at the restaurant at 5001 Town Center Drive in Leawood’s Town Center Plaza.

A spokesperson for the Johnson County district attorney, Melody Webb, said that Hanson contaminated the food with a bodily fluid, although authorities have not specified which type.

Hanson worked part-time at the steakhouse between March 26 and April 25, which is when the contaminated food could have potentially been served.

How Kansas restaurant inspections work

The Kansas Department of Agriculture handles restaurant inspections for Johnson County, including Leawood.

KDA spokesperson Heather Lansdowne said in an email that the department had not received any complaints about the restaurant in the past year.

A tip to the Federal Bureau of Investigation led to Hanson’s arrest, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe said.

KDA’s checks are conducted every 12 months for facilities like the Hereford House. The Town Center Plaza location’s most recent inspection was on Aug. 2, 2023. The inspector did not find any priority food code violations.

Food safety inspections make sure that restaurant employees wash their hands, are not sick, and do not have any personal food or drink in the food preparation area. In addition, inspectors check that the kitchen is clean and pest-free and the food is cooked to the correct temperature, among other things.

If you got sick after eating at the Leawood Hereford House between March 26 and April 25, contact the Leawood police at [email protected] or 913-266-0696.

The Star’s Laura Bauer, Robert A. Cronkleton and Joseph Hernandez contributed to this report.

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