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By Washtenaw County Public Health
The Washtenaw County Public Health Department's Environmental Health Division is responsible for inspecting all food service establishment operations in Washtenaw County. These food service establishments are regulated under the State of Michigan's Food Law and Michigan Modified Food Code. What do the violations in the reports mean? The laws governing food service changed significantly on October 1, 2012. The most noticeable change was in the terminology used for violations in restaurant inspections. Previously, violations were Critical or Non-Critical, but now they are categorized as Priority, Priority Foundation or Core. Priority violations are the most serious. Correcting these eliminates or reduces a problem directly associated with foodborne illness. Examples include improper food temperatures and lack of hand washing. Priority violations were previously called Critical violations. Priority Foundation violations are problems that can lead to a Priority violation. Correcting these problems may keep Priority violations from occurring. Examples include not having an appropriate food thermometer, not having sanitizer test strips and not having soap or paper towel at a hand sink. The Priority Foundation category is made up of violations that were previously called Critical or Non-Critical Violations. Core violations are related to general sanitation and facility maintenance. Examples include dirty floors and improper facility lighting. Core violations were previously called Non-Critical violations.
Priority and Priority Foundation violations must be corrected immediately at the time of inspection or within 10 days. Core violations must be corrected within 90 days of the inspection. Where can I see the inspection results? Washtenaw County Public Health posts restaurant inspections monthly on Ann Arbor.com. The inspections posted were completed the month prior (i.e. January inspections are posted in February). You can also search the online database of all restaurant inspections and detailed reports. Click here for access to all Washtenaw County restaurant inspections! How frequent are inspections? Routine inspections take place twice per year (or once per year if the business is only open
seasonally). Routine inspections are typically unannounced. However, when there are changes to the Food Code or Food Law, like those that took place Oct. 1, 2012, the first routine inspection is scheduled. Key restaurant staff must be present so the Sanitarian can explain how the changes impact the establishment’s operations. The number of violations observed often decreases when inspections are announced. This may explain why the inspections appeared somewhat better than usual from October 2012 through March 2013. Each inspection is a snapshot in time, and conditions found at the restaurant are not necessarily the conditions that could be found in the restaurant at other times. Sanitarians (otherwise known as health inspectors) ask many questions about the menu, operations and procedures to get the best possible idea of the day-to-day conditions of the restaurant. Environmental Health conducts additional inspections if a foodborne illness or other complaint is reported. What if I have a complaint? Environmental Health responds to general restaurant complaints as well as foodborne illness complaints. Please call our office at 734-222-3800 to file a complaint or to report a suspected foodborne illness. Washtenaw County Public Health promotes health and works to prevent disease and injury in our community. Visit us online at http://publichealth.ewashtenaw.org.