Editorial | State should require restaurants to post inspection results | Editorials

Food safety inspectors logged 79 incidents in Cambria County in June, and 64 more in Somerset County.

Were you aware of them?

Most of the incidents were minor – one local restaurant was categorized as “out of compliance” – but we support the effort to keep consumers safe in eateries and stores that sell or process food, and believe consumers should have every opportunity to be alerted when a food center has been written up by the state.

There is no easy way for those consumers to find out what inspectors may have found. Restaurants and stores are not required to post their food safety histories, although the state Department of Agriculture provides a searchable database of inspections.

We call on the state Legislature to adopt a policy that would require restaurants to post inspection information prominently, at least when a compliance issue arises.

And we urge the state to move toward a more consistent inspection system that involves timely postings of findings – whether the reviews are done by local inspectors or those employed by the state. Currently, local inspectors are not required to load their findings into the statewide database.

The Tribune-Democrat will begin publishing the past month’s listings of restaurants found to be “out of compliance” to inform consumers.

Individuals entering a food establishment can ask the management to see any recent inspection reports.

Consumers also have the right to alert authorities when they believe unsanitary conditions exist. Complaints about food safety can be made online at: www.pda.pa.gov/FoodSafetyComplaint/.

Most restaurant owners we’ve encountered are conscientious. And even the tidiest merchant can have a problem when an unannounced inspection occurs. State officials say each inspection represents “a snapshot in time” that may or may not…

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