Health Officials Move Forward on Food Inspection Plan
By Pam G. Dempsey
After four years of discussing how to best publicize restaurant health inspection results, board of health members from Champaign County and the public health district have decided to move forward on a proposed color-code system that would require restaurants to disclose food inspection results.
At a joint study session last night, board of health members for the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District and Champaign County reviewed several options of notification that included requiring restaurant owners to post the full inspection report or a placard with a score or letter grade.
The favored color-coded system would indicate the restaurant’s health permit status across three colors – “in good standing” as green, a “required re-inspection” as yellow, or “closed” as red.
The proposed system also would disclose the restaurant’s non-compliance with critical health violations such as employees who are working while sick or allowing contamination by hands. It would not report any health inspection score.
As of now, restaurants are not required to post any health inspection information.
“I think it will help the owners and all of the public and I think it is simple I mean you can see very clear, green is go ; yellow is eat at your own risk and red is closed, so I think, I think that part is very very simple," said Bobbi Scholze, president of the county’s board of health said the color-code system is educational.
Public health officials argue that requiring restaurants to simply post a letter grade or score is useless and does not provide enough information to consumers.
In August, six restaurants failed health inspections. CU-CitizenAccess posts the reports of all failed restaurant inspections on its website at cu-citizenaccess.org
Public health district officials will present the proposed plan to the Champaign County Board in early January.