Restaurant inspection reality: overworked, pay sucks (and everyone is mad at you): Dallas edition

A city council committee was told Monday that Dallas has all of 15 sanitarians on hand — eight fewer than in 2007. The boom in food trucks and seasonal feeder programs, whatever those are, has resulted in a 300 per cent increase in the number of locations requiring inspection since 2009.

Jimmy Martin, the Director for Code Compliance responsible for inspecting Dallas County bars and restaurants told the committee that only 20 percent of food establishments received two inspections in the last fiscal year, and 241 locations had not been inspected for more than two years.

But the bigger problem was inadequate staffing: nine employees have quit in recent months, and most of those positions remain open.

The last time the city put out the call for sanitarians they got three applications — and the one person offered a job said no.

James Childers, the Assistant Director, told the committeee three weeks ago that six offers had been extended to new inspectors, but low salaries had drawn an under-qualified applicant pool. It turns out that the $17 to $25 an hour Dallas County is offering prospective candidates to deal with the area’s largest and most understaffed restaurant inspection program is a less than attractive offer.

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time