CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s inspector general has completed a follow-up to his highly-critical November audit of the health department’s food inspection program.
The initial audit called on the city to hire 56 additional sanitarians to assure that the department could meet standards of twice yearly for high-risk establishments, once a year for those deemed medium risk and once every two years for low-risk locations. Currently it has 38.
Inspector General Joseph Ferguson said in the follow-up audit that the city believes it can hire 20 additional sanitarians and three supervisors. He also called in November for the Chicago Deptartment of Public Health (CDPH) and the Illinois Deptartment of Public Health (IDPH) to create a schedule that could be met for medium- to high-risk establishments. That appears to mean fewer inspections for some restaurants, particularly those in the low-risk category. IDPH expects to review and update those rules and implement changes in 2019, Ferguson said.
Routine inspections were conducted in 2016 at 43.9 percent (3,566) of high-risk, 80.1 percent (2,478) of medium-risk and 24.8 percent (1.078) of low-risk establishments.
He said inspections of problem locations and those identified through public complaints are being done in timely fashion, five days or less.
One positive response to the November audit: you now can find each establishment’s latest inspection date and rating through the city’s data portal.
WBBM asked whether the city and state should post grades at the front door, as is done in a number of other states. Ferguson said there is no reason not to do so, and said he believes it would inspire confidence in the inspection system.
You can access the latest inspection date and rating, at https://data.cityofchicago.org/Health-Human-Services/Food-Inspections/4ijn-s7e5/data