March 15, 2007
With all the worries lately over peanut butter and food contamination, you may be concerned about the food you're getting at local restaurants.
12 On Your Side went out with a local health inspector to see how he makes sure your food won't make you sick.
Getting a safe serving of food is something a lot of people are thinking about these days.
But judging by what we saw, you can rest pretty easy at local restaurants...the health inspectors are on it.
Mike Allison is a health inspector for Richmond County. His job is to make sure when you go out to eat, you're getting a safe meal.
"First thing I do when I come in is to take a quick look around just to see if there's anything out of the ordinary," he told 12 On Your Side. "I work my way around the perimeter normally."
We went along as he inspected Vallarta restaurant on Washington Road.
One of the biggest things he looks at is making sure food is being kept at the proper temperature.
"Refrigerators need to be keeping food at at least 41 degrees or less," Mike said. "This one says 35 degrees...this one looks like it's 39 degrees."
Then he moved on to the cooking area.
"Needs to be maintained at a minimum of 130 degrees," he said. "It's 170 to 175 degrees...very hot. Caliente!"
Mike says the proper temperature ensures the food is safe from bacteria, keeping you from getting sick.
"They have an adequate amount of sanitizer in here," he said. "This refrigerator is working very well."
When Mike comes in, he literally looks anywhere and everywhere.
If something isn't in compliance, he lets them know.
"We want to make sure it comes up to the correct temperature," he said of one refrigerator. "There may be something wrong with the refrigerator."
His goal isn't to be nit-picky for the sake of being nit-picky...he just wants everything to be right when you and your family come in to eat.
Vallarta had done almost everything right.
"They got a 94...it's a pretty good score," Mike said.
Mike says there were a couple of very minor problems that are easy to correct...overall, Vallarta's a very good and safe restaurant.
Health inspectors have about 600 restaurants they have to check constantly. They hit each restaurant every two or three months or so.