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Press Contact: Matthai Chakko, (510) 981-7008

USE RESTAURANT INSPECTION DATA; GLIMPSE CITY WORK TO SAFEGUARD FOOD

Berkeley, California (Thursday, March 16, 2017) - Use the City of Berkeley's restaurant inspection data to see how the City protects and ensures the safety of local restaurant food, one of the Berkeley's most cherished cultural assets.

At the City's restaurant inspection website, you can find the date and results of restaurants' most recent inspection. Restaurants are searchable by name or address, even if you can't remember the full name. You can also learn about risk factors for foodborne illness and how to protect yourself.

You can also explore, analyze and visualize the data set using the City of Berkeley's Open Data Portal, which has a continually updated set of restaurant inspections ready for download in a variety of formats.

Foodborne illness creates real risks for people's health and wellness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that, each year, one in six Americans get sick from contaminated foods or beverages and 3,000 people die. To keep all Berkeley residents safe, the Environmental Health Division permits and inspects a wide range of retail food facilities, including restaurants, markets, delis, schools, and street festivals.

"It is not enough to catch problems downstream, once people become sick," said Paul Buddenhagen, the City's director of Health Housing and Community Services. "Here in Berkeley we are committed to having environmental health workers pay attention to what is happening upstream; through early intervention and prevention programs we hope to avoid problems before they arise."

Over the course of the year, the City's Environmental Health division inspects approximately 460 restaurants and other facilities that sell food to the public. Food Specialists assess restaurants in terms of the following risk factors: improper storage temperatures, inadequate cooking time, poor personal hygiene, and foods from unsafe sources. For restaurants that fall short, the city conducts chargeable re-inspections, holds office hearings to achieve compliance, and, if necessary, closes restaurants that pose imminent health hazards.

Berkeley is just the second jurisdiction in California to complete a rigorous process to make sure all field specialists are standardized according to a protocol established by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and that inspections focus on those factors that the CDC says are most likely to cause foodborne illness. Last year, the Division of Environmental Health conducted more than 2,300 food safety inspections.

So before when you're curious about the safety of food in our community, visit the City's restaurant inspection website and use our open data portal to see its status and dine with confidence!

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