(KSL News) -- Government health inspectors examine hundreds of restaurants every year. Some of them don' t fare so well, others get high marks for cleanliness.
The Deseret Morning News has analyzed inspection data and compiled a list of restaurants with the most and fewest violations. The establishments with a clean record, are happy to hear about it.
The numbers can be enough to make anyone lose their appetite. In 2003 and 2004 combined, the Utah health department found more than 25-thousand critical violations, infractions most likely to contribute to food-borne illness. But according to Health Department Supervisor Eric Peterson, the good performances often go unmentioned.
Eric Peterson, Food Protection Supervisor: “In Salt Lake County there are by far more restaurants that do it right than those that don’t.”
We contacted restaurants which the Deseret Morning News found are "doing it right'. In fact, last year's health inspection report indicates several restaurants did it right 100% of the time.
Brian Platel, Manager, Pei Wei Diner: “For us it’s not an issue of going above and beyond or being so hard it’s unreasonable for us. For us it’s just a daily routing.”
Brian Platel is General Manager for the Pei Wei Asian diner, located on 10th East and 21st South. Platel says they take the inspections very seriously and consumers should, too.
Brian Platel: "It should be the number one key factor if some now would want to eat in a restaurant or not."
Boulevard Restaurant in Holladay also made the cut.
Bonnie Stephens: "It's comforting to know what you are eating is very tasty and you don't have to worry about getting something."
Other restaurants on the 'A' list include: Beans and Brew Coffee on 7800 South in West Jordan, the Domino's Pizza on Airport Rd in West Jordan, and Figaro's Pizza on North Temple.
Sherry Bleazard: "I think it's very important. You hear about all of these other restaurants that get salmonella or food poisoning. People don't go back there."
But just how does someone know if the place they are eating is safe? Inspection information can be requested through government records act, but Peterson says good indicators comes from customer observation.
Eric Peterson: "Look for some sort of barrier between food handlers, their hands, and them actually handling the food you are going to eat -- that can be gloves or utensils. Another thing to look for would be just basic cleanliness, good hygienic practices, if you see employees washing their hands."
With the help of consumers, Peterson hopes to add to that "A" list one bite at a time.
The Deseret Morning News gathered and analyzed inspection data on both ends of the list. You can read about which restaurants had the most, and the most serious violations, in tomorrow's edition.