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Food fight: State takes over restaurant inspections in St. Paul

  • Blog Post by: Jane Friedmann
  • July 3, 2013 - 4:49 PM

The state has revoked an agreement with the city of St. Paul that allowed city employees to conduct restaurant food-code inspections after the state found "serious errors" in inspection reports, according to a Minnesota Department of Health statement Wednesday.

Whistleblower has periodically analyzed inspection data and published a list of the ten St. Paul restaurants inspected within a certain period of time that have had the highest number of new or unabated critical violations. The columns have always drawn high reader interest with findings of filthy kitchens, moldy ice machines and hot and cold food held at lukewarm temperatures.

But a June 2012 review by the state found a high number of inaccurate or incomplete reports, some including an inaccurate categorization of the risk level associated with each restaurant, according to the statement.

The state told the city its employees needed to ramp up the number of inspections per employee from an average of 8.8 to 25 per month, but some employees were given other duties that took them away from inspections.

As a consequence of the review, the city was to provide the state with monthly reports, but it failed to do so. The state will now resume responsibility for restaurant inspections, swimming pools and hotels.

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