Food service inspector explains violation correction process

Food service inspector explains violation correction process
(Source: WTOC)

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Still operating with a less-than-stellar inspection score?

Some of our viewers recently asked why and how restaurants were allowed to stay open, even with what is deemed an unsatisfactory score.

For about the past year, there were about a dozen restaurants in Chatham County that scored less than a 69 out of 100 on a food service inspection.
Of those, all but one are still listed in violation, and the manager of that restaurant says they are in compliance and waiting for a follow-up visit to get their score amended.

Businesses have 10 calendar days to fix their violations, and some of those, especially the ones posing a public health risk, are fixed on site during the inspection.

"For those priority violations of risk factors, yes, those require immediate on-site corrective action while the inspector is still there," said Environmental Health Specialist Lauren Baker-Newton, with the Department of Public Health, Chatham County Office.

Those corrections are noted, but the score remains until the follow-up visit.

Baker-Newton says most of the 1,400 food service businesses they inspect over the course of the year are proactive, even going as far as shutting themselves down to fix violations internally if necessary. She adds, though, that's not the intent.

"That's not our goal. The primary goal is going to be educated to make sure that at the end of the day the operators understand what is required of the role, and also understand how to get that compliance long-term," Baker-Newton said.

The Health Department says they're also gearing up to review a large number of temporary food service permits for the St. Patrick's Day Festival that's now less than a month away.

Copyright 2018 WTOC. All rights reserved.