TEXAS: Dallas debates restaurant inspection measure
Posted: June 26th, 2012 - 10:37am
Final vote expected in October
The city of Dallas is one step closer to a new measure designed to clean up restaurant kitchens.
An NBC 5 investigation in February found hundreds of restaurants had gone more than two years without a health inspection.
At a meeting Monday, the City Council's Quality of Life Committee was briefed on what the city has done since NBC 5 uncovered the breakdown in restaurant inspections.
"They've been working for a long time -- you have to give them a little latitude to kind of close that gap," Councilman Dwaine Caraway said. "I think they put the right program in place and hired the people."
At the meeting, staff reported that the city has already hired six new restaurant inspectors. The committee approved the hiring of five more in the next fiscal year.
NBC 5's investigation found that the city's inspection budget -- and the number of inspectors -- had been slashed in half, which was one reason why so many restaurant kitchens were not being checked.
Council members on Monday also authorized staff to start writing a measure that would require every restaurant worker in Dallas to take a food-safety course.
"What we're saying is to take it one step further. Don't wait for the violation; do what other cities in Texas are doing, where you require everybody to take the training beforehand, so now it's not just on one person to be watching everybody," Assistant City Manager Joey Zapata said. "It's so that everybody has gone through the training and, hopefully, we will see fewer violations whenever we go in for our twice-a-year inspections."
But first, the city wants to get the support of Dallas restaurant owners.