Health department puts food inspections online

People interested in knowing how their favorite restaurants are rated by the El Paso County Department of Health and Environment can now check them out online.

Inspection reports are available at the health department’s website, www.elpasocountyhealth.org.

State law requires the health department to conduct unannounced food safety inspections of the 2,300 retail food establishments in the county. The establishments include restaurants, school cafeterias, grocery stores, burrito vendors and more.

The inspectors are trained public health professionals with college degrees and background in the natural sciences. The department inspects establishments before they open for business and when they receive complaints from the public.

Inspection reports should be viewed as a snapshot of conditions on the day of the inspection. Only violations are reflected in the online reports. Violations that have a greater chance of causing illnesses are often corrected before the inspector leaves.

The inspection reports available include those conducted since January 2009. New reports will be added as inspections are completed.