A health inspector goes through a kitchen. (Ken Stevens | MLive.com File Photo)
The inspections are conducted by the Department of Agriculture in Pennsylvania or by some health offices in some cities. An inspector goes to a restaurant to study retail practices such as food storage and the risk factors for food-borne diseases such as preparation and cleanliness. All violations, no matter how minor, are recorded in a report that is made public on the Ministry of Agriculture's website.
The inspector goes through the facility with the owner or manager, usually letting them initiate the correct operations. A restaurant is unable to verify compliance if problems identified require a re-visit by the inspector, Powers said. Problems that can not be rectified immediately will usually have a period of one to two months for a surprise follow-up visit.
A compliance rate of over 93 was achieved at inspections in the two Lehigh Valley counties, according to department statistics in 201
It is rare for health inspectors to close a restaurant immediately; This requires "an immediate risk to human health" such as vermin or a sewer system, Powers said. For health reasons, only five restaurants are closed nationwide by mid-January. None of them was in the Lehigh Valley.