Audit finds flaws in Cincinnati's food-safety program

Audit finds flaws in Cincinnati's food-safety program



a new city audit says Cincinnati's food inspection program is understaffed and lacking in management oversight the 9 on your side i-team brought those concerns to the leaders of the city's Health Department they tell the i-team reporter dan monk that they are working to correct these issues and make sure local diners are safe but not every problem is easily solved 20 years in the restaurant business taught grimrock seeing a thing or two about health inspectors he spent the past six years operating elephant walk restaurant in Clifton Heights they come in here and this is not a good working cooler they will shut you down immediately but Singh was stunned in February when a city inspector shut down another business he operates Clifton market was closed because of a paperwork violation any time the businesses shut down even four doesn't matter twenty minutes thirty minutes it affected businesses has a long lasting effect and that beak our numbers were really down Singh thought he was treated unfairly so he asked if he could have a new inspector it would be good if you give us someone else and at that time they were hesitant and they said their people look into that we don't rotate our inspectors that's about to change thanks to a recent city audit that recommends regular rotation of inspectors from one neighborhood to another the audit says it will keep inspectors from getting too friendly with restaurant owners Singh says it can also break up bad relationships just getting your fresh eyes and different mindset and different person Cincinnati health commissioner Melba Moore agrees inspectors should be rotated every two to three years it's not an indictment on the scale of the quality of the inspection but you want to do that because then you want to be able to see if you have you put another eye in there and that's all about continuous quality improvement but Moore does not like another audit recommendation aimed at preventing inspector bias when it comes to bias the audit says Cincinnati's food inspectors should sign conflict of interest statements to ensure that quote they do not have personal financial or self-interest that might impair their judgment including political ideological or social biases it's the only audit recommendation the Health Department objected to implementing and I'm gonna tell you why and it's not we disagree like that but the city has a conflict of interest process and policy in place the audit doesn't cite any specific examples of bias but Singh believes it exists in fact he thinks it happened to him Clifton market I just don't think it was fair for her to shut us down for just for the paperwork which we knew it existed it was there in the market so I felt like it was more than the paperwork it was something else there is no bias in the food safety program says the city's environmental health director Antonio young the inspectors also need to do their job so we'll give you only a few times before we need to lay the hammer Singh says there are other ways to accomplish that goal working as a team you know educating people or the restaurant owners and not not creating a fear part of it it's like keeping the public safe staffing is another area the health department needs to improve according to the audit currently the city's eight inspectors are performing roughly double the number of annual inspections that Food and Drug Administration guidelines recommend the audit says this can cause inspectors not to do a thorough job does this department need more funding we could always use more funding and where I said I think the staff has done an excellent job that was Dan monk reporting the city's food inspection audit also highlighted some technology problems in the department that regulates 2500 Cincinnati restaurants school kitchens and other food service locations you can find a copy of the audit and Dan monks reporting on its findings at wcco.com

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