Brad Cooper of the Kansas City Star reports that Kansas is making it easier to find out if the kitchen at your favorite restaurant is dirty. The state health department on Thursday announced that it is putting restaurant health inspection reports on the Internet. No more writing to Topeka and waiting a week to get a report back.
Now learning about the conditions found at a restaurant means going to www.ksfoodsafety.org, where you should be able to look up any of the thousands of food service establishments that the state inspects every year.
The state will keep up to two years of restaurant information on the Internet.
“We’ve been getting so many questions from the public about food safety,” said Sharon Watson of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
The state joins Kansas City and Overland Park, which have been posting inspection reports on the Internet for several years.
The restaurant industry opposed the state’s decision to put inspection reports online.
Dennis Carpenter, president of the Kansas Restaurant & Hospitality Association, said one inspection report can cast an unfair image of an eating establishment. An inspection report, he said, reflects conditions at one point in time.
“It’s like watching a movie and seeing only one frame,” he said.
Carpenter also said that consumers don’t necessarily fully understand the details of an inspection report to discern how serious an infraction may or may not be.
“Just because someone has a violation doesn’t mean they’re an unsafe place to eat,” he said.
Watson said the state is only making information more accessible that is already available to the public. She said the Web site contains information explaining the inspection reports.