1,700 Local Food Establishments Have Only Five Inspectors
ANCHORAGE - The 1,700 food establishments in Anchorage keep the city's five health inspectors very busy.
During recent inspections, the city’s inspectors found food stored at improper temperatures, dirty cutting boards and un-sanitized cleaning rags.
"The main one is when an employee who is working for the restaurant is ill and they don't have sick days and they come to work,” said Janet Vietmeier, Deputy Director of the Department of Health and Human Services.
“The employer, the restaurant, is required to have an employee heath policy, so we do a lot of education and as much intervention as possible both with the employee and the employer to educate them,” said Vietmeier.
Vietmeier said 3 in 10 food establishments have more than two critical violations of the city’s food code.
With a compliance rate of 71 percent, which means the establishment has two or less critical violations, Vietmeier said the Department of Health is working with businesses to make improvements.
"Our goal was 90 percent; of course we would like to be at 100 percent - that would be in an ideal world,” said Vietmeier.
The city said even though all complaints were investigated in 2011, not all restaurants had the yearly check-up; 91 percent of the establishments were inspected.
The municipality’s Department of Health said its biggest difficulties are establishments that do not have set hours, such as seasonal snack shacks, some caterers, and truly mobile food units.