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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Northern Kentucky Health District - Food Inspections 
Food-borne illness has been a hot topic this year with some national chains becoming a cautionary tale to fellow restaurants and patrons alike.

In the Northern Kentucky Health District, inspectors look for 38 potential items of violation, each of which is assigned a point value based on how it can affect a person’s health. The point values range from one to five, with one being least severe and five being most severe. The inspections are typically unannounced---the establishment does not know ahead of time when the inspection will take place.

An example of a non-critical item is a hand washing sink in an establishment that is dirty or a refrigerator that doesn’t have a thermometer provided in or on it to monitor the temperature inside.

An example of a critical item is an employee failing to use a hand sink to wash hands between handling raw chicken and cutting up vegetables for use in salad; or potentially hazardous food items stored at a temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit inside a broken refrigerator.

A perfect score is 100.

Generally, follow-up inspections happen within 10 days there were has any critical violations or within 30 days if the total score was below 85 without critical violations. Follow-up inspections can be conducted on the same visit if the problem is something the restaurant staff can correct immediately.

Fort Thomas' establishments performed well, each scoring at least a 92. Some establishments did require a follow-up visit by the department, but all fared much better after correcting original infractions.

You can see that list here.

You can check the rest of Northern Kentucky here, and search by restaurant name, city, zip code or score.

WCPO Insider recently did some data mining to look into the health inspections of all of Northern Kentucky, Cincinnati, Hamilton, Warren and Clermont Counties.

They found that buffet-style restaurants tended to have the most health inspections. From their article:

There are several reasons why buffet-style restaurants tend to have more health inspection violations than other formats, said O. Peter Snyder. Snyder is president of Snyder HACCP, a food-safety consulting firm near St. Paul, Minn.

• First, buffet restaurants are easy to operate, he said.

"You don't need a lot of labor so people who are just getting into the business go to buffets," he said.

That means the restaurant owners can be people with less experience at meeting health codes.

• Not only that, buffets have the complication of leftover food, he said.

"You have to cool it, and you have to resurrect it the next day," Snyder said. "That leads to complications in the kitchen, and they end up with far more violations."

• Often immigrant families get into the restaurant business through buffet restaurants because family members can easily staff and operate them, he said.

"The countries they come from do not have the same levels of food safety and security that we do," he said.

It can take a generation or two of ownership to learn those expectations so that they're part of how the restaurant is run, he said.

• Buffet table equipment can be tricky, too, he said.

Pans full of food that is hot on the bottom and cool on top are not good in the world of health inspections, he said.

For the food to be kept at the proper temperature all the way through, the buffet table should have hot, moist air above the pans so the food is the correct temperature and doesn't dry out, Snyder said.

• Ideally, a buffet operator should throw out the food that has been sitting on the buffet table before replacing it with a clean pan of fresh, hot food, he said. But many restaurant employees just scoop the new food on top.

"The whole thing of holding food hot is poorly done," he said.

Via WCPO Insider. Subscribe yearly here

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