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Routine food inspections return to county establishments

Routine food inspections return to county establishments
Posted at 9:35 PM, Apr 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-07 08:00:06-04

EL PASO COUNTY — Over the last year, the El Paso County Health Department has not performed one routine on-site inspection at any of the local food establishments.

The retail food program manager for the county, Sammi Jo Lawson, says the inspection team had to work from home for the majority of last year.

Therefore, they weren't able to regulate retail food like usual. It's something that has some restaurant-goers a bit worried.

"Taking proper precautions even with the pandemic, I think they could have been doing them," said Anthony Jasserd.

The inspection team shifted their focus from regulatory inspections to something they call wellness checks or remote check-ins, which is a non-scored inspection.

Lawson says when the team was not making calls to restaurants, they were answering calls.

Over the last year, the team received close to 14,000 calls from folks in the community about possible restaurant violations.

Now as things start to progress in El Paso County, the inspection teams are getting back out to restaurants and performing their normal routine field inspections.

Last year was going to be the first year for a new state-wide inspection rating system, but because of the pandemic that was never performed.

So, starting now the new system will be of either pass, fail or reinspect.

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