Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Restaurant Inspections

The Monongalia County Health Department conducts food inspections so that the public is well-informed. These results are just a glimpse at one point in time, so just because a restaurant may have violations doesn't mean they're always bad.

According to its Website, the Mon County Health Department has more than 700 permitted food establishments, and it conducts more than 2,000 inspections per year. Establishments are required to have these, and typically they're done twice a year. Usually they're unannounced, and they look for:
  • Food service workers’ hygienic practices and food handling practices
  • Food temperatures for potentially hazardous foods
  • Equipment design, maintenance and operation
  • Storage of foods and food service items
There are two main types of violations: Critical and Non-critical. Critical violations could directly lead to food contamination, foodborne illness, and include "poor employee hygenic practices, poor temperature control of food, improper cooking, cooling, refrigeration or reheating temperatures. Such problems can create environments that cause bacteria to grow and thrive, which puts the consumer at risk for foodborne illness."
"Foods must be held cold, below 41°F or hot, above 135°F to help prevent bacterial growth in them. When foods are held for prolonged periods of times between 41°F and 135°F disease causing bacterial can grow to unsafe levels, then when the food is consumed can cause illness. The second most common cause of foodborne illness is sick workers handling food or workers with poor hygienic practices. Sick workers or workers with poor hygiene can contaminate foods with viruses or bacteria." 

Non-critical violations aren't directly related to foodborne illness, but include a lack of facility cleanliness and maintenance or improper cleaning of equipment and utensils. Inspection reports are available to the public. January's can be found here.

If you check that out, you can see that the most violations goes to the BFS on University Avenue, with a smacking 21 total. Of those, 9 are critical and 21 are non-critical. That's not too great. Cold Stone had 15 total (3 critical). Subway (High Street) and Wings Ole both clocked in at 13 total.

But the scary ones are the critical ones. Those are the ones that can actually hurt you. Non-critical can be small things, but the critical are worrisome.
It's kind of surprising. Of course this doesn't mean there are constant problems all the time, but it does show one moment in time. These aren't exactly the places I would have thought would be on the top of the most critical. That just goes to show you, you have to be careful. Food poisoning is one of the most unpleasant experiences I've ever had the misfortune of going through.
For more information, questions or concerns can be email to info.mchd@wv.gov.