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Deli owner speaks after being shut down for 47 violations, including slaughtering animals

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Posted at 8:01 PM, May 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-29 22:02:35-04

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah – The health department shut down a Middle Eastern restaurant in Salt Lake City after it discovered 47 violations, including the slaughtering of live animals in the back parking lot, and Friday the owner told FOX 13 News he wasn't aware of the rules--but now that he is, he intends to comply.

Health inspectors also reported finding a kitchen in the garage where food was not separated from car oil, clean dishes in the mop sink and chicken thawing in stagnant water outside. Click here for details on the violations found.

Landon Potter has visited Israel and said he couldn’t find more authentic Middle Eastern food than at the Middle Eastern Pastry and Deli off 3300 South in Salt Lake.

“They seem really sincere, they were really kind, and the food was really, really good, honestly," he said.

Health inspectors found 47 different health code violations. Owner Mike, who didn’t want to give out his last name, explains it’s a custom to slaughter sheep a certain way in the Middle East–known as Halal meat.

“We believe, the way we slaughter, it has to be a certain way,” he said. “You cannot kill a lamb with a bullet or a sharp, or whatever, you have to cut the neck.”

Mike says he did not understand the laws and understands he must follow certain health codes in order to stay open.

“I appreciate their help, now they’re letting us know what we're doing is not right, and we have to correct it to be on track,” he said.

Potter says he had no idea this was going on, but he said it’s the culture in the Middle East to prepare food a certain way.

“I mean, that’s how they do it, that’s honestly how they do it in the Middle East,” he said. “I kind of laughed a little bit – but at the same time, here it’s so unheard of and it’s just disgusting.”

Mike says he's going to work with the health department to get back on track and hopefully keep his restaurant and deli open.