It’s usually not a good sign when Jeff Neistadt, the City’s Health Commissioner, knocks on my door and says he needs to talk to me.
Thoughts of measles and mumps outbreaks immediately come into mind (just ask Ohio State about that) but thankfully Jeff’s recent visit was good news — he reported that the Health Department web site now has all of the 2013 environmental health inspections posted online for the public to access and review.
That means that all of the food service and swimming pool inspections can be viewed by anyone interested in learning about where they are eating or swimming in Kent.
With casual dining more popular than ever, it’s nice to know that the Kent Health Department is on the job making sure the food we eat is safe. Jeff can’t necessarily do anything about the calories we consume but his staff is on the front lines of sanitation — and we should all be thankful.
Hang out too long with Jeff and you learn more than you ever wanted to know about the battle health departments wage against viruses, bacteria and the millions of bugs that share our world and are all to happy to invade our bodies through any opportunity we give them.
A big part of Jeff’s job is to teach us how to keep those bugs out and the doors of opportunity closed. It turns out that it takes a village to stay healthy and as hard as Jeff and his staff work, it’s up to all us carriers to do our part to stay a couple steps ahead of the next contagion.
That’s why Jeff’s expanded use of the web site is great news. He’s giving us access to more public health information than ever before and that’s our best weapon against these critters.
To view the reports, go to http://www.kentpublichealth.org/ and click on the Inspections tab on the left. You will then be redirected to Jeff’s healthspace website where you can click on food facility inspections (or swimming pools) also on the left. From there you can search for any restaurant in Kent and see their last few inspection results.
There’s also great search function that let’s you find your restaurant quickly and easily. After reading through some of last year’s results, you’ll see that there’s a difference between “critical” and “non critical” violations.
The nice thing is that over time we’ll be able see which restaurants routinely run into trouble and which one’s do a great job so that we can plan our dinner locations accordingly.