The Lexington-Fayette Health Department is making it easier to check the cleanliness and food safety practices at restaurants. Inspection scores are now available on the internet. The scores given some 15 hundred eating establishments by inspectors are now posted on the health department web site. But, Health Department Spokesman Kevin Hall says an eatery’s overall score is not the only number to look for.
“We have the inspection type, where it was an original or follow up inspection. We also have the score, the date, violations, and the main thing you want to watch for are those violations. We’ll have a sheet on the web site that will explain what was found, because it’s not gonna be just a score,” said Hall.
Still, Hall notes a score of 85 or below with critical violations means there will be a follow up inspection. Besides posting scores on line, he says the results of their inspections must also be posted at the restaurant.
“It’s a way for people to be a little bit more aware, rather than getting to the restaurant and seeing the inspection score posted. By that point, they’ve already driven, they’re already there. A lot of times, you’ll say, I’ll go ahead and eat here. This is your chance to get that information on the front end,” added Hall.
Hall says major violations occasionally force inspectors to shut down a restaurant until needed changes are made. He says the aim is to better fight the spread of food borne illnesses.
“The Health Department is not in the business of trying to shut down any of the restaurants. Our primary goal is to make sure the restaurants are safe for the customers, and so, that’s what we work with. And these restaurant owners and managers, this is their livelihood. This is how they make their living. So, they want to work with us, so there’s really good cooperation between the restaurant, their staff, and the restaurant inspectors,” explained Hall.
While much attention focuses on restaurants, Hall says all eating establishments must meet food safety guidelines. They include school and hospital cafeterias, concessions stands, farmers markets, and super markets.