WAYNE COUNTY, Ind. — Every business selling food in Indiana gets inspected to make sure it is following the state’s food safety regulations. The inspection reports are available to the public.
However, getting access to those reports can be difficult to impossible depending on where you live.
For example; Marion, Hamilton and Madison Counties have restaurant inspection reports available online with the ability to look at past inspections. But in fast-growing Boone County, inspection reports are only available if you call or visit the health department.
Along the Ohio border, Wayne County has come up with a cheap, low-tech solution to place inspection reports right where restaurant-goers can easily see them. Every food service establishment is required to post its most recent routine inspection report right by the main entrance.
Executive Director Christine Stinson, “We just don’t have that ability to post inspection reports online, at this time. So, how do I make the public have easy access to it?”
So, Stinson pitched the idea of a report posting requirement to the county commissioners, who approved a new ordinance in September 2021.
“We spent the first year basically educating our establishments on where they need to post it, that it has to be posted, and it has to be the routine inspection report,” said Stinson.
There are other areas around the country where there is a posting requirement for restaurants. In New York City, and across the state of South Carolina, restaurants are required to post their grade from their most recent inspection.
In Wayne County, the entire report, including details on health code violations, gets posted.
Moises Zacatelco, co-owner of Little Sheba’s in Richmond, said the posting requirement keeps his restaurant’s management and staff on their toes.
“I believe it’s a great idea that it is on the door. It just reminds you and it reminds our crew, please, do your thing.”
Stinson said she’s gotten no pushback from restaurants or members of the public. In fact, she said people have come to depend on the posted reports.
“They appreciate that it’s there and they read it, and when it’s not posted, they ask. ‘Hey, where’s your most recent inspection report?’ ”
FOX59 did not contact every Indiana county to see if others have also moved to an inspection report posting requirement, but it appears Wayne County is the only one in Central Indiana to do so.