Looking Up A Salt Lake Area Restaurant’s Health Inspection Report So You Know Before You Dine Out
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Hundreds of restaurants, delis, convenience stores, food trucks and other establishments serve food across Salt Lake County. If you’ve ever wondered how any of one of them fared with health inspectors, the reports are free and online.
“We, on average, close 50 establishments a year in Salt Lake County,” said Nicholas Rupp, spokesman and inspector for the Salt Lake County Health Department. “This year, we are on track to match that as well.”
Rupp said inspectors show up unannounced. They look for violations in the kitchen, dining area, restrooms and where waste is handled. They’ll check to see if employees have access to hot water, soap and towels for regular hand washing.
“We also check to make sure the food is at the proper temperature and the equipment on site is capable of keeping the food at those proper temperatures, either cold enough or hot enough,” explained Rupp.
Improper hygiene and improper storage are two common critical violations that could shut down a place. Others include employees preparing food on dirty surfaces or with dirty utensils and eating, drinking or using tobacco in the same space they fix meals.
“Are the surfaces clean to sight and touch?” Rupp said about the inspection process. “If you run your hand across the counter top does it feel grimy, gross or sticky? Utensils, bowls prep equipment or the physical surfaces in the kitchen, are they clean?”
Pests are also a problem for all types of restaurants. Rupp said inspectors are more focused on how an establishment deals with the bugs.
“Do they have a pest control plan in place? Are there employees trained on proper storage of food that would prevent encouraging pests? Those are things we look for,” explained Rupp.
Violations can shut a place down. Before you eat out, you can look up the 10 most recent inspection reports for that restaurant online.
“That’s so you can see pattern of behavior, a pattern of their activities, how they’re doing long term,” he said.
Rupp said everyone should search through the online inspection reports before choosing a place to eat. But, don’t base your decision on just one report.
“An inspection is just a snapshot. It’s one moment in time. It doesn’t necessarily capture everything that could be, or should be, going on,” Rupp explained. “So it’s important to look at a full history of inspections and see if there’s a trend developing before you make your decision.”
Any restaurant can have problems from a cheap burger joint to a fine diner.
“I hear from the public that places they expect to do really well, sometimes don’t. And, places they thought would be quite poor, usually, are not much better,” Rupp laughed.
Rupp said most restaurants that get shut down fix their problems and reopen within a day or two.
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