The Perspective
   
SUMMER 2012

Food Establishment Complaints 101

Whether it’s your first time or you’re a regular customer, there’s nothing more disappointing than going into a restaurant and seeing unsanitary conditions, unsafe food practices, rodents, bugs or food with unwanted ingredients.

Food establishments are obligated to keep their establishments clean, free of rodents and insects, practice good food safety, ensure the food is wholesome and free of foreign materials such as mold, hair or bugs. Environmental health specialists inspect permitted food establishments at least once a year to ensure they are in compliance with food regulations.

So what do you do when an establishment isn’t holding up its end of the bargain? The answer is simple; you let us know so we can investigate.

Fifty years ago, you would have needed to dial the seven digit telephone number on a rotary phone to report an illness or voice a complaint about an eating establishment. These days, you can choose the traditional route of placing a phone call or you can use one of the many electronic forms located on our website.

In our early years, Environmental Health staff received about 1,000 complaints a year. Today, the website alone generates about five times that amount in food establishment complaints alone. This figure does not include other methods of submitting complaints, such as other online forms and phone calls.

Unsanitary Conditions

The easiest way to file a complaint about unsanitary conditions is to complete the Food Establishment Online Complaint Form. The most important information we need is the name and location of the establishment and the details of what you observed. All complaints are investigated by an environmental health specialist and kept confidential.

Foodborne Illness/Food Poisoning

The best way to file a complaint if you got sick and believe it was caused by eating at a commercial food establishment (restaurant, deli or caterer) is to complete the Foodborne Illness Complaint Form.

A foodborne illness complaint is investigated by a disease investigation & intervention specialist to determine what made you sick. The information required for an investigation is more detailed, but important to help us determine when, where and what caused your illness.

Smoking

Believe it or not, even smokers don’t always like eating in a smoke filled dining room. In 2006 voters passed the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act and food establishments that serve people under the age of 21 must comply to keep their health permit. Compliance includes: posting no-smoking signs at all entrances, removing all smoking materials (ashtrays, matches, etc.), and not allowing smoking unless they have an enclosed smoking area that prohibits smoke from getting into the non-smoking area.

If you believe an establishment is non-compliant, complete the online Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act Complaint Form so staff can investigate.

Now you know how to file a complaint for a permitted food establishment, but what happens when you run across someone selling food without a permit? That answer is simple too; you let us know so we can investigate.

Illegal Vendors

We’ve all seen someone standing a street corner selling fruit or selling water on a walkway on the strip, but not everyone knows it’s illegal.

An illegal vendor is any person selling any type of food without a health permit and business license. This can occur from a residence, a vehicle, a shopping cart, or on a street corner. Purchasing from illegal vendors is a health risk, but there is also a very real danger is that by purchasing from street vendors you may be enabling human trafficking and slavery.

The health district works with Metro and the Anti-Trafficking League Against Slavery to identify and rescue victims of human trafficking. To report an illegal vendor, call (702) 759-0523.

 

Restaurant Inspection Search

You may wonder how your favorite restaurant is doing on its annual inspections. While we don’t have an app for that (yet), we do have a webpage! The Restaurant Inspections webpage includes inspections for most food establishments from 2005 to the present. Information includes the grade and violations received for the most recent inspection and the grade and inspection type for all previous inspections that establishment has received since they opened.

Bon Appetit!

 

 

     
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