California county food inspections turn up an array of eye-opening violations

Inspectors, according to The Modesto Bee, pop unannounced into more than 2,300 food service providers throughout Stanislaus County at least twice a year. In the past two years, they’ve suspended licenses 43 times for violations ranging from lack of hot water and warm refrigerators to roach and rat infestations and sewage on the floor.“We hope all our businesses stay viable, but our job is health and safety,” said Jami Aggers, director of the county’s Department of Environmental Resources. Her office deploys 14 inspectors throughout the county. In addition to food service, they also check wells, septic systems and tattoo shops.

Most of what they find, good or gross, is available to anyone with Internet access. Those who aren’t tech-savvy can ask to see hard copies of inspection reports, which must be produced at every food service business.

Some areas of California go a step further, posting letter grades in eateries’ windows reflecting general sanitation and food safety practices. Momentum for such seems lacking in the Northern San Joaquin Valley, although Aggers isn’t opposed.

Stanislaus’ website is the only one in the Northern San Joaquin Valley to post inspection reports of each of its more than 2,300 facilities. The website is limited, however, because the user must know a restaurant’s name or address from a broad field. Also, there is no way to search for time-based reports in case someone wants to avoid eateries with recent problems. To see for yourself, go to

Reports on San Joaquin’s website are color-coded, allowing a user to quickly see if an eatery has had major problems (red) as opposed to minor (blue) or those that have been corrected (green), but no specifics are listed. Go to