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Local county health departments inspect restaurants and other retail food service establishments to make sure that employees follow safe food handling practices and have adequate kitchen facilities. Keep in mind, inspection reports are snapshots of the food handling at the establishment at the time of inspection – conditions may be different when you visit. The following local health agencies have inspection reports available online:
If your local health department isn’t listed above, you should be able to review their inspection reports at their office. Contact your local health department to find out the best way to see your local restaurant inspection reports.
Tips for Eating Out
You can check with your local health department on how restaurants performed on their most recent inspections. However, it often isn’t practical to view the inspection report of every restaurant you plan to eat at. And, a great past inspection is no guarantee that a mistake might not be made in the future. Protect yourself from foodborne illness when you dine out by following these tips.
For example, order your hamburger well done and send it back if it is undercooked. If you are at high risk for foodborne illness, avoid certain foods such as sprouts, undercooked meats or eggs, and raw oysters.
Read Menu and Signs
Restaurants are required to notify you if certain animal foods are served raw or undercooked. These foods may include raw oysters, raw milk or raw milk cheeses, and undercooked meat, eggs, or fish. If you choose to eat these foods raw or undercooked, you increase your risk of foodborne illness.
Someone in the food establishment should be able to tell you how your foods were prepared.
Let Your Voice be Heard
Tell the food service establishment’s manager when you notice food safety concerns or give a compliment to the manager when you notice safe food handling.
Know the Requirements
Food service operators in Washington follow many precautionary steps to serve your food safely.
- In Washington, food workers are trained to prevent bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods. Food workers must use gloves, tongs, or other barriers so that they do not touch ready-to-eat foods such as toast, sandwiches, and salad.
- Certain foods must to be kept at proper temperatures for safety. Foods such as meats, sliced melons, cooked vegetables, cooked rice, and cooked noodles must be kept either hot or cold. If your food is not as hot or cold as it should be, send it back.
- Food workers must wash hands twice after using the restroom – once in the restroom and then immediately upon returning to the kitchen.
- Read more about safe food handling in the Washington State Food and Beverage Workers’ Manual.
Your own hands can carry harmful germs. Wash your hands before you eat.
Food Tastes, Looks, or Smells Bad
If the food tastes, looks, or smells bad, don’t eat it.
Refrigerate leftovers as soon as possible and within 2 hours.
Call the local health department for complaints or concerns about food safety at a restaurant or food establishment.
Content Source: Food Safety Program