The Perspective
   
NOVEMBER 2015

Skipping Clean-up Duty and Dining out This Holiday Season? What You Need to Know

Have you decided to take a holiday from the food prep, tower of dishes, and playing host to the invasion of family and friends this season?

Dining out is certainly a stress-relieving alternative. Southern Nevada offers a wide variety of dining options for every
palate – from those choosing to forgo the traditional holiday fare to special holiday menus for dining guests who want a
more traditional meal without the requisite clean-up duty at home afterwards.

While dining in one of the many fine establishments our community has to offer is a welcome holiday treat, you do relinquish control of the kitchen and quality control of the food preparation process. The good news is that now more than ever you have options for reviewing the current inspection grade for a restaurant when choosing a place where you want to eat.

The Southern Nevada Health District hosts an Environmental Health Inspections section on its website. The section provides a glimpse of inspections from 2005 to the present, and includes information for all food establishments permitted by the health district including, bars, taverns, snack bars, food processors, food warehouses, health food stores, markets, and permanent outdoor barbeques. The site allows you to search by the name of the establishment, inspection grade, address, city, ZIP code, or resort/hotel name.

For those on the go, the health district introduced a mobile app, Restaurant Grades of Southern Nevada, that allows users to see current and historical restaurant inspection grades. Users can find information for restaurants in their area, or search for restaurant grades by name, and view Yelp ratings for the eating establishments. The app can be downloaded by iOS device users through the Apple Store and by Android users from Google Play. Download the app and bookmark your favorite restaurant or find new restaurants to visit during the holidays.

Restaurant grades provide important information about the status of an establishment at the time of an environmental health specialist’s inspection. However, these records provide a “snapshot” of the day and time of the inspection and are not necessarily representative of the past history of the restaurant, or its current condition. It is the health district’s overarching goal to work collaboratively with the establishments it regulates to ensure they are meeting all public health requirements. With this goal in mind, environmental health specialists work to promote safe and healthy conditions through education and placing an emphasis on the risk factors that would be most likely to cause foodborne illness among patrons.

These types of risk factors can result in the environmental health specialist making a finding, or findings, during an inspection that results in an “A” grade, or a downgrade to a “B” or “C” status for an excessive number of violations. While patrons may see the ubiquitous Grade Cards in their favorite restaurants, they may not know how they system works.

What does the grade card mean?

“A” Grade:

The restaurant has earned between 0-10 demerits on their last inspection.

“B” Grade:

A restaurant that has been downgraded to a “B” has earned between 11 and 20 demerits or identical consecutive critical or major violations.

“C” Grade:

A restaurant that has been downgraded to a “C” has earned between 21 and 40 demerits, has identical consecutive critical or major violations, or more than 10 demerits on a “B” grade reinspection.

Restaurants downgraded to a “B” or “C” must be resinspected to ensure violations are corrected within 15 days, and a resinpection may be conducted sooner at the request of the operator. An establishment with 41 or more demerits is an imminent health hazard and will be closed.

“Ultimately, the health district would like to see every establishment in Southern Nevada earn and keep an “A” grade,” said Jackie Reszetar, director of the Environmental Health Division for the health district.

“The health district delivers a passionate commitment to working with industry to regulate through education and collaboration. At the same time we are upholding our commitment to the public by providing them with timely and up to date information through a variety of social media methods,” said Reszetar.

More information on the health district’s inspection process and grade cards is available on the health district website.

When dining out you forgo your cleaning duties, not your healthy choices! The American Heart Association’s Dining Out website offers tips for deciphering menus, choosing a restaurant, ordering your meal, and much more.

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