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No Kitchen is Perfect

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Oct 9, 2008 9:02PM

2008_10_mr_clean1.gifWant to know how detailed a city health inspection of Our Town's restaurants can become? Tribune reporter Monica Eng recently followed two Public Health Inspectors around as they scared the hell out of unsuspecting restaurant owners with spot inspections. How detailed are the inspectors?

"(They) employ a 44-item checklist that combines guidelines from the Illinois Department of Public Health and local city ordinances. It's a meat grinder of a survey, the kind of thing that could make you look at your home kitchen and wince. In fact, in their combined 16 years of inspections, (the inspectors) said they have never found a place in full compliance. Not even the finest restaurants in town."

Eng also describes the rotation system that keeps inspectors working in a set district for a whole year, common inspection infractions and the verbal and physical threats levied at inspectors by restaurant owners. Health Department spokesman Tim Hadac once told us of some similar stories, so it's completely believable. [Tribune]