GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kent County Health Department has released its second annual Food Safety Award winners.
“If (restaurants) do well at their food practices — showing that they are dedicated to handling food safely and preventing food borne illness outbreaks — we publicly recognize them for that,” said Shane Green, the supervising sanitarian at the Kent County Health Department.
This year, of the more than 1,700 eligible restaurants in Kent County, 471 made the list. That is about 200 more than last year.
“Its not easy. The health department is very, very, very specific,” said Bartertown Diner manager Bobbi Earl.
In order for a sit-down eatery like Bartertown to make the list, it must:
- Must have a certified food safety manager.
- There can not be any confirmed violations of Michigan Smoke Free Law. No enforcement action taken against facility for year of review.
- No confirmed food borne illness outbreaks linked to facility for year of review.
- No complaints which are confirmed by inspection and determined to be a public health risk.
- Cannot exceed three core violations.
“A core violation is a violations that has a vary unlikely chance or small chance of actually causing a food borne illness,” said Green.
Bartertown Diner was inspected by the Kent County Health Department twice last year and didn’t receive any violations.
“I think (food safety is) something that’s becoming more and more important to people,” Earl said. “We had two places in two weeks that got multiple, dozens, of people sick, so I definitely think it’s something people are conscious of; paying more attention to,” Earl said.
Bartertown has been placed on the list for both years the award has been available, and said it makes a difference.
“It helps to set us apart a little bit more from the heap. I mean, this is Grand Rapids. We have tons and tons and tons of great restaurants around here,” Earl said.
The health department said not getting the Food Safety Award does not necessarily mean an establishment is a bad restaurant.
“The criteria are rather stringent,” Green said. “Sometimes something might just have gone wrong that day. Normally most restaurants do try to do a good job. They do not want to get people sick. And violations do happen but that doesn’t mean that restaurant is bad.”