Inspection placards coming to Ford County establishments
PAXTON — Starting in December, every food establishment in Ford County will be required to post a color-coded placard in a prominent location within the business that states its compliance with public health guidelines.
The Ford County Public Health Department board unanimously approved an ordinance to require "inspection notice placards" as a way to increase the accountability of both restaurants and the health department, said the board's president, Mike Short.
The placard program will be similar to the one started in Champaign County and others in the area, Short said.
"I think it just informs the public two things: one, that the health department is doing its job as far as inspecting the food establishments; and two, that the food establishments are doing their job to meet the requirements set forth and providing the public a safe environment for dining out and purchasing food products," Short said.
The idea to place the placards in food establishments was brought to the board's attention by Steve Williams, interim administrator of the to-be-dissolved Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department.
"I've worked in a lot of different states and places, and I've never seen a restaurant that didn't have a rating on it — either numerical or an alpha-numerical rating," Williams said. "It basically allows the clientele to see how well the restaurant compares to other restaurants as far as health inspections go. So that was primarily the reason I suggested it."
Placards will be color-coded to show how each food establishment fared on its most recent routine inspection by the health department's environmental health division:
— Green indicates "satisfactory compliance" with all applicable rules and regulations.
— Yellow indicates "re-inspection required," meaning there are "such violations in number or severity ... that immediate correction and re-inspection is necessary."
— Red indicates that "closure" of the food service establishment or retail food store is necessary "to the extent that it poses an immediate threat to the public health."
The placards will also list the food establishment's score for the most recent inspection, with "A" being 90-100, "B" being 80-89 and "C" being 70-79. Also on the placard will be the name, address and contact information of each establishment; the type of the establishment, its "risk" category, permit number and the date the permit was issued; and the date and time of the inspection.
The placards must be placed in a location so it is "clearly visible to the public" and "easily readable."
Will Brumleve is editor of the Paxton Record, a News-Gazette community newspaper. For more, visit paxtonrecord.net.