Friday, December 3, 2010

Universal Standard for Restaurant Inspections

A new law will overhaul the way Pennsylvania’s restaurants are inspected.
The law imposes a uniform set of safety standards for every restaurant, whether it’s state or local officials carrying out inspections. Up until now, counties and municipalities were able to set their own benchmarks.
Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding says the law maintains local authority...

"It doesn’t change who inspects your operation. But what it requires is a universal standard. Which is the first time in the state’s history that we’ve actually had one standard for every establishment in Pennsylvania. Regardless of where you’re located, everyone’s going to have the same report card."

Redding says every report will also be posted online.

"I think that’s going to be the big change. We certainly saw it in the state, when we went to an online system. As soon as you know that your inspection is online, for the public view, you certainly are more attuned to making those little changes that are important for food safety."

The law also lets inspectors assess restaurants based on risk, so higher-priority eateries with more vulnerable food can be inspected more often than, say, convenience stores carrying pre-packaged snacks.
Redding says the Agriculture Department has been pushing for the changes for more than five years now.
The law goes into effect in January.

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