Protecting Against Foodborne Illness: Every work day, Public Health’s Environmental Health Specialists are out in the community, conducting health inspections of restaurants and grocery stores. This helps reduce your chance of getting a foodborne illness. In fact, each year, the department conducts about 55,800 restaurant inspections and 13,250 food market inspections to help keep you and your family safe and healthy.
Since January 1998, when the Department of Public Health began its restaurant grading program, there has been a 20% decrease in foodborne illness hospitalizations. Also, inspection scores (or grades) have improved, an indication that food facilities throughout LA County are more hygienic because of the grading program.
During a routine inspection, which is unannounced, the Environmental Health Specialist inspects many areas, such as food temperatures, food storage, employee health, sewage, plumbing, water/sanitation, refuse, and signs and permits. Once the inspection is completed, the health inspector completes the report and meets with the food facility’s owner or manager to discuss the findings and post the required letter grade.
The health inspector uses this meeting as an opportunity to educate the food facility owner or manager about current health laws and best practices in food preparation, handling, and storage—all of which are crucial to protecting the health of our Los Angeles County population from foodborne illnesses.