Clearly communicating food service inspection results through haiku

Health officials throughout the U.S. (and elsewhere) continue to push city, county and state politicians to help them communicate how businesses they’ve visited have fared in inspections. After following the situation for about 10 years, the discussion is predictable – opponents often cite how complicated an inspection form/grade/sign is and say folks wont understand it. Or they suggest businesses will be hurt if inspectors aren’t careful with their words. John Norton of the Pueblo Chieftan reports that as the Pueblo City-County Health Department explores posting inspection reports online, the latter was a concern of a local board of health member, Eileen Dennis.

Dennis expressed concerns about how reports would be worded. Pleased with a sample page on a local restaurant that Carlton showed them, Dennis said, “My concern about the comments was that there wasn’t any poetic license taken. The verbiage is very objective.”

Vicki Carlton, manager Pueblo City-County Health Department environmental health program said that even though data goes back many years, she decided to limit reports to the previous 12 months in order to simplify the system but still show some history of inspections. The reports will include noncritical violations and will list critical item violations in red. The critical violations are direct threats to public health and must be dealt with quickly.

This entry was posted in Food Safety Culture and tagged by Ben Chapman. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.