The Seattle Post-Intelligencer published a story on the Seattle restaurants most-cited for critical (red) violations during health inspections.  P-I reporter Daniel Lanthrop interviewed Gary Kickbusch from Public Health — Seattle & King County, who described the difference in critical violations and other violations, known as "blue" for the story.

"We focus on ‘red critical’ items that we know are contributing to disease," said Gary Kickbusch, a senior specialist in food issues at Public Health — Seattle & King County. "Most places are making a best effort at food safety."

Unlike the other category of violations, which inspectors call "blue" because they are unlikely to cause a disease outbreak, "red critical" violations are directly related to the spread of food-borne illness, such as E. coli infection and botulism.

Lanthrop also interviewed Chris Skilton, an inspector for Public Health — Seattle & King County who inspects restaurants in Pioneer Square and the International District.  According to the article:

Skilton sees himself as a door-to-door salesman selling food safety.

"I think people can sense if you believe in what you do," he said.

Skilton believes he and the restaurants he inspects "have the same customers" and should be on the same team.

Still, in his career, Skilton has seen rats, cockroaches, sewage, rotten food, spoiled meat, rancid grease backing up from drains and every food horror known to man.

More information about restaurant inspections can be found at: