Contra Costa Restaurant Inspections Now Available Online
September 13, 2006
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Finding out whether your favorite restaurant is a sanitary place to eat has become as easy as going online. Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) is now posting results of restaurant inspections on its website at www.cchealth.org.
Simply put in the name of the facility and its location and the results of inspections will be displayed. Both minor and major violations of state standards are included. This new service makes it easier for the public to check on their favorite dining establishments, said Sherman Quinlan, Director of CCHS' Environmental Health Services Division, which does the inspections.
"This tool allows people to quickly find out whether restaurants are meeting food safety standards and if facilities have been closed due to violations," Quinlan said. "Of course, most facilities won't have perfect scores. It's the major infractions people really need to worry about because those are more likely to lead to food-borne illness."
There are 4,007 food facilities in the inspection database. Results are posted a week after an inspection occurs. The database includes a list of facilities that have been closed for major violations and when they've re-opened.
Major violations that could mean a restaurant must close include: the presence of rodents or insects, which are vectors of disease, the lack of hot and cold running water, an outbreak of food-borne illness among the restaurant's patrons, refrigerator breakdowns and sewage backups, Quinlan said. In the past two months, 11 facilities closed because of major violations. Restaurants usually can re-open once the problems are fixed. County restaurant inspectors do thorough checks of all Contra Costa food facilities at least once or twice a year. If the department receives a complaint about a restaurant, an inspector will be sent to check the facility.
"Checking on complaints involving food-borne illness is a high priority for us. We urge anyone who thinks they have gotten sick from eating at a restaurant to contact us immediately. We'll keep their name anonymous," Quinlan said.
People should report suspected food poisoning from a restaurant, bar, supermarket or mobile food truck within 24 hours to Environmental Health by calling 925-646-5225, ext. 200 or filing a complaint online at www.cchealth.org/groups/eh/. After 24 hours, there may be no way to determine if the food facility is at fault. Environmental Health can determine.
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- Sherman Quinlan