MASSACHUSETTS: Check, please: Restaurants face stringent inspections in the name of safety
Posted: June 28th, 2010 - 7:28am
Source: Milford Daily News
Walking between walls of boxes in Dairy Queen's basement, Milford Health Inspector Steve Garabedian keeps his eyes peeled for movement. If something tries to run away from him and his flashlight, there's a problem.
Searching for vermin such as mice and bugs is just one part of the extensive inspections conducted regularly by Garabedian and specialists in other area towns. The lengthy procedure includes everything from the obvious checks for cleanliness to detailed gauging of water and food temperature.
After shining his flashlight in every nook and cranny of the shelf-lined basement, Garabedian finds no critter company. Dairy Queen passes the first part of the inspection.
Moving upstairs, Garabedian spends nearly an hour checking thermometers in freezers, cleanliness of microwaves and paper towels near employee sinks. In a bathroom, he even checks the amount of time water comes out of the two push-button faucets. (Seven seconds, he said, gets a pass.)
In the end, the busy ice cream shop gets Garabedian's approval along with a few suggestions for improvement. The West Street restaurant, he said, is one that rarely has problems and usually requires just the two-visit minimum each year.
The Dairy Queen is just one of 160 establishments inspected by the Milford Health Department, Public Health Director Paul Mazzuchelli said. "It's our responsibility to protect the public (from illness)," said Public Health Director Paul Mazzuchelli.
Like Milford, Bellingham also faces limited resources for food service inspections. Checks for its 78 establishments are handled by Health Agent Mike Graf and a number of contracted inspectors.
But with dwindling funds, hiring help has become increasingly difficult, said Guy Fleuette, Bellingham's Board of Health vice chairman.