COLUMBUS, Ga. – The federal government estimates that there are about 48 million cases of food-borne illnesses a year in the U.S., which is about one in six Americans. The Center for Disease Control says one of the sources of food illness is restaurants.
Steve Davis goes out to eat once a week.
“Every time I go into a restaurant, I do look for their score,” Davis said.
Kristi Ludy with the health department says food temperature is one major aspect when it comes to inspecting a restaurant.
“We also look to see to make sure that there’s not pests of any kind with inside of the food service establishment. We also look to see that the food service establishment is clean. That they are properly washing, rinsing and sanitizing food containers,” Ludy said.
Food service establishments that provide cooked food undergo two routine inspections a year.
“They’re not aware of when we’re coming. All the more reason that we want to come unannounced so we can see a true picture of all of the processes that they are conducting,” Ludy explained.
Desi Evans has worked as a server at Cannon Brewpub for just over a year and has been through a health inspection.
“It was a little nerve wrecking at first because this is my first job ever, and like someone that’s never been a part of the health inspector. It was a little hectic, but we made sure everything was to a tee,” Evans said.
He says this experience influences where he decides to eat.
“Definitely. Working in the service industry has definitely increased my sensitivity to other things in other restaurants,” Evans said.
There are more than 600 food service establishments in Muscogee County. Davis has a few things he looks for before sitting down to eat.
“Quality of food, service, cleanliness and location,” Davis said.
The health department suggests looking up a restaurant’s score online the next time you’re going out to eat. You can click here for a link to the Environmental Health Inspections results.
A food service establishment scoring a 69 or below is considered unsatisfactory. There will be a follow-up inspection within 10 days of the initial inspection where the risk factors will need to be fixed.