Every day there are cases of serious illness and death from diseases contracted while eating at a restaurant. Many of the dangers of eating out are hidden from the public, partly because of flaws in the restaurant inspection process in Florida. This topic is on my mind today, not just because our firm has successfully prosecuted death and serious illness cases from food borne illnesses and diseases contracted at local eateries, but also because just yesterday I got sick from eating out.
The inspection process needs to be revamped so that more inspections are done and so that the results of the inspections can be found and understood by the consumer. Problems with the inspection process are many. For instance, only two inspections are done per year, the inspection results are coded and hard to read and the results are not posted at the eatery.
Food borne illnesses are not just a small problem they can result in life threatening conditions and death. Often they arise from poor hygiene and lack of adherence to safety standards. According to a recent survey of food inspection results by the Orlando Sentinel:
Nearly a third of the 7,802 Central Florida food sellers inspected by the state were cited for roach- or rodent-related violations, and two out of five establishments — or 3,377 total — were cited for poor hygienic practices such as workers not washing their hands
Restaurants should comply with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Model Food Code which sets standards for hygienic practices for public food service establishments. Sadly many do not.
Ways to improve the safety of the food we eat include requiring more inspections, making the establishment post the inspection results on site so it can be seen by diners and staff and putting a grading system on the inspection report so that the results can be readily understood and compared to other eateries. For now to protect your family from food borne illnesses, check out your favorite Orlando area restaurant’s food safety inspection report before you eat out.
For more information on this subject matter, please refer to the section on Defective and Dangerous Products.