Most fast-food places do well with food safety in Philadelphia

Friend of the barfblog and beard aficionado Don Schaffner told that, “In terms of fast food, there’s not much they can do to screw it up.”

Don-Schaffner-214x300Schaffner, a professor of microbiology at Rutgers University who also sits on McDonald’s Food Safety Advisory Council said the complex processes that can trip up exotic places that make everything from scratch, for example, are missing from these eateries, which is part of how they produce food fast, adding, “Those restaurants do a pretty good job of engineering out the risk factors. I’d be more leery going to a fancy white-tablecloth place than a fast-food restaurant.”

Partly, food-safety experts say, that is because big, publicly traded corporations – from McDonald’s to ConAgra – are well aware of the damage a food-poisoning scandal can do to their brands, and they put a priority on preventing it.

Inspectors from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health attempt to visit every restaurant once a year. Inspections are a snapshot in time, with limited ability to prevent foodborne illness. Much of the job involves educating food workers, which health officials say is more effective than policing or stiff fines.

schaffner.facebook.apr.14Establishments with problem histories also are visited more often, however; the city says a single violation for a food-borne illness risk factor usually calls for a repeat inspection.

Find inspection reports for all McDonald’s and Burger Kings, and any other city restaurants: