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Web site allows citizens to see restaurant inspection results



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SALT LAKE COUNTY -- Salt Lake County is making it a lot easier, or maybe that's queasier, to find out which restaurants are on the up and up.

Restaurant inspections have always been a matter of public record, but now, with the click of your mouse, you can search for your favorite restaurants to see where they stand.

Cris Lane has been working at Mo's Neighborhood Grill in downtown Salt Lake for the past two years. Lately, she's been doing her best to keep the place clean.

"I was cleaning before you got here," she said.

Now that health inspection scores are easier to get than ever, it's more of an incentive for restaurants to do better. "It would definitely change my opinion in going some place," Lane said.

Environmental health specialist and supervisor with the Salt Lake Valley Health Department Ronald Lund says a new food service inspection Web site puts all the information at your fingertips. "What type of an inspection, the score that they had, and it gives us a summary of violations again, and then the actions that we had as a, when we were in there as inspectors," he said.

Lund says you can even compare several restaurants at a time, plus you get detailed information about what each violation means and how serious it is.

Health Department Executive Director Gary Edwards says he's proud of the new site. "A lot of time and effort has gone into the creation of it, to ensure it will meet the needs of the citizens, the food establishment operators and the health department," he said.

It will benefit restaurants is by giving them a sense, at a glance, of how they stack up to the competition, whether they're making common mistakes, and how they can improve their inspection results.

Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon says with nearly 3,900 eating establishments in the county, this is a valuable service. "We are keeping our promise to make Salt Lake County government more open, transparent and accessible," he said.

He adds, it potentially saves the county money as well as saving citizens' time. "Having the Web site available makes it easier for citizens. It also saves us money in the county so people don't have to call us in the county or ask for public records," he said, pointing out that having the records online reduces paper waste and budgeting.

To use the new service, go to www.SLVHealth.org, then click on "restaurant inspections," or follow this link.

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Story compiled with contributions from Alex Cabrero, Becky Bruce and Jed Boal.

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