News 12 at 6, January 31, 2008
You may start noticing health inspection scores on your favorite restaurants slipping a little bit. But 12 On Your Side explains it's not because those places are getting sloppy, it's just that the rules are getting stricter.
The new health inspection rules for restaurants started being enforced around 2 months ago. Anything from food temperatures to what can and what can't be touched by bare hands have been changed. The whole goal is to make sure the food you eat is safe.
For Columbia County Health Inspector Andrea Frazier, keeping your food safe is her top priority.
"We always check the temperatures of the coolers." she said on a recent inspection.
The same goes for Richmond County Inspector Mike Allison.
"This fridge is working very well." he said while checking the temperature in one establishment's refrigerator.
Anything from coolers to warmers, Mike and Andrea check them to make sure what comes on your plate of food is safe.
But accomplishing that goal just got a little more time-consuming for all other Georgia health inspectors.
"Under the new food code, the inspection time is longer and a little more detailed." Andrea said.
Just this past December, inspectors started enforcing some changes to the health code for restaurants.
"We're taking more temperatures." Andrea said while doing just that to a large pot of soup.
Temperatures that the state has decided are safe to keep food.
"We have to record all of them." she said.
Each and every temperature, so that there is a paper trail to make sure restaurants are keeping things safe. But that's not all that's different.
"No barehand contact in ready to eat foods." Andrea said.
That means gloves, tongs or another utensils have to be used to bring the foods to you that are ready to eat.
After that, the changes go anywhere from length of fingernails to when unwrapped foods have to be thrown away and even when and how you can mix new and old food.
And Andrea and Mike have to keep up with it all and make sure the owners understand. They say at first, with new stricter rules, you may notice a change or two.
"We do anticipate the grades may go down a bit, but we anticipate they will revound and come back up." Andrea said.
But in the long run, you can have more faith that your food will be safe when you go out to eat.
For restaurant scores in Richmond County, you can click on the following link: