Los Angeles County inspection cards to include QR codes

When I meet a non-food safety nerd in a social setting (most of which occur around kids hockey) the conversation usually turns to foods I avoid and restaurant scores. I avoid a few things (sprouts, raw oysters, undercooked meats) and I caution of the false sense of security of a high inspection grade.qr-code-1

I share that I go online and check out the inspection history of our favorite spots. I look for risk factors and whether a place has the same problems/mistakes/violations time after time.

According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is takings steps to make things easier for patrons interested in looking at a restaurant’s inspection history when they walk in the restaurant.

A new A, B, C grade card that would allow the public to access food facilities’ inspection history with their smartphones may soon appear in the windows of Los Angeles County restaurants.

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials are recommending the county revise the grade cards to include a QR code, the dates of restaurants’ last three or four inspections and the inspector’s initials, according to a report submitted to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Monday.

The QR code, a tool that health departments in Pasadena and San Diego County use on their grade cards, would take smartphone users to the county’s online inspection database, which provides the health code violations observed during routine inspections.

“Between posting the grade card, having a QR code, having information on Yelp and having it on our website, we feel like we’ve touched all the bases for letting people know what the facility has the scored,” said Terri Williams, acting director of the county Department of Public Health’s environmental health division, which is responsible for inspecting more than 39,000 retail food facilities in the county between one and three times a year.

“You can demand to look at a paper copy, so this just makes it a little bit more accessible,” said Matt Sutton, vice president of government affairs and public policy for the California Restaurant Association.

This entry was posted in Food Safety Policy, Restaurant Inspection 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.