The minutes of the McHenry County Board of Health reveals that restaurant inspection reports are being made available on the internet.
Here is the relevant portion of the March 23, 2015, minutes:
A. Food Establishment Inspection Search On The Web
Mr. [Dave] Hill explained that the special meeting went well on March 10th with everyone being able to have a hands on approach.
The Health department will have a soft release onto the website in anticipation of finding glitches and errors. If everything goes well with the soft release the Health department will then put out a press release announcing the addition to our website.
1776 restaurateur Andy Andresky of Crystal Lake made the motion.
With a little help from Departmental staff, I found the spot to look. (You can click on the Department’s main page “Environmental Health“, which will then show “Food Protection Program” heading and find this, too.)
That takes you to this page:
Here you can find information on what is a serious and what is a less serious violation.
Critical violations are required to be corrected immediately when possible. Non-critical violations are one and two point violations and typically have a lower potential to cause food borne illness,” reads part of the explanation.
There is a numerical rating score is issued. The highest is 100%.
The rating score is equal to the total number of violation points subtracted from 100. For example, if a facility is given a score of 100, no Ordinance violations were noted during the inspection. If a facility is given a score of 80, a total of 20 violation points were noted during the inspection.
- 1 and 2 point violations are to be corrected by the next routine inspection.
- 4 or 5 point violations are to be corrected immediately, if possible, or within 10 days unless an extension of time has been granted by the Health Authority.
- When the rating score is 60 – 70 a Conditional Permit is issued. A Conditional Permit is valid for 30 days and suspends the regular health permit.
- When the rating score is less than 60, the health permit to operate is suspended.
Down at the bottom of this page are instructions regarding how to access the inspection data.
I decided to look up all the restaurants in Crystal Lake, so on the search module page, I typed in *Crystal Lake*.
I figured that would give me all the food establishments in Crystal Lake.
I got a message saying,
Maximum results of ‘500’ reached. Please narrow your search criteria.
I figured that I could type in the zip codes 60012 and 60014 and that would cut each category low enough to find all the restaurants and other places that serve food.
But there was no search by zip code. (I did suggest that option be added.)
Here’s the top listings for the Crystal Lake 500 establishments. This is not in order of cleanliness. In fact, I cannot figure out what the order is.
|922 – WEST ELEMENTARY SCHOOL – CRYSTAL LAKE – 08/23/2913|
|2393 – CRYSTAL LAKE CENTRAL HS BOOSTERS CONCESSION – CRYSTAL LAKE – 08/29/2104|
|305 – BENEDICTS LA STRATA – CRYSTAL LAKE – 04/22/2015|
|38 – AROUND THE CLOCK RESTAURANT – CRYSTAL LAKE – 04/10/2015|
|1740 – GAS DEPOT – CRYSTAL LAKE – 04/10/2015|
|473 – LA BUENA VISTA MEXICAN STORE – CRYSTAL LAKE – 04/10/2015|
|652 – PABLO’S MEXICAN RESTAURANT – CRYSTAL LAKE – 04/10/2015|
|1070 – ST THOMAS THE APOSTLE CHURCH – CRYSTAL LAKE – 04/10/2015|
|1340 – TOP BUFFET – CRYSTAL LAKE – 04/10/2015|
|2235 – FIRE BAR & GRILL – CRYSTAL LAKE – 04/09/2015|
|2349 – HEAVENLY HARVEST CATERING – CRYSTAL LAKE – 04/09/2015|
|2156 – JAMBA JUICE #827 – CRYSTAL LAKE – 04/09/2015|
|601 – MR A’S – CRYSTAL LAKE – 04/09/2015|
|1914 – PHILLIPS 66 – CRYSTAL LAKE – 04/09/2015|
|2216 – BUFFALO WINGS & RINGS – CRYSTAL LAKE – 04/08/2015|
|642 – CAFE OLYMPIC – CRYSTAL LAKE – 04/08/2015|
|2529 – MCC CULINARY MANAGEMENT – CRYSTAL LAKE – 04/08/2015|
|1756 – PONTARELLIS PIZZA AND WINGS – CRYSTAL LAKE – 04/08/2015|
|176 – LA ROSITA – CRYSTAL LAKE – 04/07/2015|
|1340 – TOP BUFFET – CRYSTAL LAKE – 04/07/2015|
|1752 – ANA’S CAKES & BAKERY – CRYSTAL LAKE – 04/06/2015|
|1822 – PONTARELLIS PIZZA & WINGS – CRYSTAL LAKE – 04/06/2015|
|740 – THE SALVATION ARMY GOLDEN DINERS – CRYSTAL LAKE – 04/06/2015|
|2304 – BUFFALO WILD WINGS – CRYSTAL LAKE – 04/02/2015|
|123 – CHEN CHINESE CUISINE – CRYSTAL LAKE – 04/02/2015|
|182 – CRYSTAL PINES REHAB & HCC – CRYSTAL LAKE – 04/02/2015|
|1740 – GAS DEPOT – CRYSTAL LAKE – 04/02/2015|
|1206 – JEWEL #3517 – CRYSTAL LAKE – 04/02/2015|
On the Health Department page from which this was taken, there are links to each of the establishments. These links did not come through when I copied them above, so anyone wanting to see the ratings will have to do so from the Health Department web site.
There may be some order to the listing, but I can’t figure it out.
Missing from the list is what would be of most interest to consumers–
the score achieved by the food server
There is obviously room to put it on the page of links, as you can see below, but, for some reason, the Board of Health has decided to make it harder to find.
If the computer program limits the amount of information that can be entered on this page, the inspection date could be eliminated, using that space to enter the score. Perhaps the score could replace the date of the most recent inspection.
This program is in use in the McHenry County Treasurer’s and County Clerk’s Offices.
I checked some of the places on the top of the Crystal Lake list.
McHenry County College’s kitchen scored a 96.
A couple of the establishments had “NA” where the score should be written. That indicates a follow-up visit.
When one types in an individual establishments, one finds reports back to 2010.
That historical data was so readily available was impressive.
When asked about improving the format of the report, Mike Hill, the relatively new Health Department Director conveyed the following:
- This is an existing document management system that the County already uses (not purchased for this purpose).
- It is our intent to give consumers access to these records but we recognize it is not as user friendly as we would like. We are working with the County to get something better.
It seems significant to me that this initiative has occurred since Hill has arrived in McHenry County.
I’m still hoping to be able to see posters on the doors or front windows of restaurants as I found at the Waffle House just across the Kentucky-Illinois line.
The sanitation rating in this part of Kentucky has the numeric score for the most recent inspection and the one immediately before.
The most recent grade is converted into a alphabetic grade.