Carson City Health & Human Services details changes to health inspection process
Carson City Health & Human Services on Monday held its first public meetings to go over proposed changes to the health inspection process with local restaurants and solicit their feedback.
Dustin Boothe, division manager, hosted two meetings attended by about a dozen representatives from Carson City eateries, where he outlined the draft of a new ordinance that could go to the Board of Supervisors for approval in January.
A major change would be a requirement for a certified food protection manager to be on site at full-service restaurants during operations. The manager, who could be the manager in charge of the restaurant, would be responsible for identifying food safety hazards, developing policy and procedures, coordinate staff training, and perform in-house inspections periodically, according to the draft ordinance.
The new requirement would mean restaurants might have to pay to have several employees attend a class and be tested to receive certification.
The health department is also proposing the use of restaurant placards. At inspection, an establishment would be issued a grade — from A to D — and given a printed sign that must be displayed where patrons can see it when entering the restaurant.
The proposed ordinance also adds definitions and rules for outdoor food carts and outdoor food establishments.
Boothe encouraged attendees to read the draft code and submit comments on it to the department by the end of November.
At one meeting, discussion focused on the inspection process itself, which sometimes does not take into account the realities of a working kitchen, said one restaurant owner.
“In the morning the refrigerator is 36 degrees. Then the inspector comes in after a busy lunch and it’s 45. Why? Because it’s been opened and closed all lunch,” said Charlie Abowd, owner, Cafe at Adele’s. “It looks good on paper, but in practicality it doesn’t work.”
Boothe suggested restaurants monitor all equipment and keep logs because an inspector can then take into account, as with the refrigerator example, whether the machine routinely meets code and is experiencing a temporary change due to extenuating circumstances or is a faulty piece of equipment.
Abowd said most restaurant owners try to be as proactive as possible.
“I have the firm belief that the vast majority of people who put on the cook’s coat want to do the right thing,” he said. “They’re juggling a lot of things.”