If there’s one thing that you should make note of, it’s the FOOD SAFETY INSPECTION notices that are posted in your local restaurants.
There are only two reasons why an Inspection Score is not posted: the manager forgot to do so, or the score is embarrassing to the owner/manager.
The former is seldom likely to happen, as not having the score posted itself is a violation to be noted on the next review. The latter is more the case. Some locations do everything they can to hide a low score from being visible to the inquiring public, from placing it far away behind a counter – visible, but not readable; to placing it behind other paperwork on the wall – also visible, but obscured.
We do know of one fast-food chain location that was so proud of their “100 out of 100” score that they made a 2′ x 3′ poster of the inspection and placed it at the front door. No hiding from that.
Web Watch recently went to a local deli on recommendation of many others, and the score was not posted anywhere. Later, we looked up the establishment’s history to see if it was an oversight or a purposeful exclusion. The AVERAGE score from the past seven inspections was a 76 out of 100. (The lowest score they had was a 51 out of 100.)
Needless to say, we won’t be going back.
According to the CDC, here are the FIVE MOST IMPORTANT FOOD SAFETY ITEMS THAT COULD LEAD TO DANGER FOR CUSTOMERS:
- Improper food temperatures. 65% of restaurants surveyed were not compliant in one study
- Improper hand washing. One study showed 75% of restaurant workers either don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom or didn’t do so adequately.
- Improper cooking. Undercooked food can still harbor e.coli.
- Dirty food prep areas. An FDA study showed 56% of full-service restaurants didn’t clean or sanitize surfaces adequately. Keep that in mind the next time you see a table being wiped down by the hostess before you sit down to eat.
- Unsafe food purchases. That food may have been contaminated before it even arrived
But for all the EWWW factor of the above, there are FIVE THINGS CONSUMERS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT when it comes to RESTAURANT FOOD SAFETY:
- Employee cleanliness
- Rodents or insects
- Improper use of wipe cloths
- Sick or ill kitchen workers
- Bare hand contact with raw food
Web Watch will add two more to this list:
- Waitresses who deliver trays of food on their shoulder, which ends up draping their hair across the plates
- Pizza delivery guys who smoke in their car
So what do you think? Are there restaurant cleanliness concerns that you would like to share with us that aren’t mentioned above? Tell us in the comments below: