Letter to the Editor: How Do Restaurant Inspections Work in St. Louis County?

A reader wonders how the health department determines an establishment's risk factor, grade and whether it's more common to pass or fail on the first inspection. Patch has the answers, right here.

Dear Editor,

I really appreciate the restaurant inspections you post each week, but I have a couple of questions. First, would you explain the “Risk Factor,” please?

For Example, Restaurant P is graded 100-A with a Risk Factor of three while Restaurant R has a grade of 95-A with a risk factor of two.

Speaking of which, how does the grading system work? And how often do restaurants actually fail inspections?


A Curious Patch Reader

Dear Curious,

During an interview with , we learned that Inspections are risk-based, and that all inspections are done in-person with visual inspections.

“The inspector assigns a number between one to four, with the number indicating the number of times per year a food establishment will be inspected,” Butler told Patch editor Candace Jarrett. “This is based on the extent of the food preparation, the type of food handling, and past performance at the food establishment.”

As for the grading system, Butler says it’s pretty simple. Each restaurant starts with a possible 100 points, and then inspectors note violations, which carry a certain number of points, depending on the severity of the violation.

Most restaurants (95 percent) pass inspection the first time, but Butler says about five percent fail.

“If a food establishment fails an inspection with no violations that lead directly to food-borne illness, then we work with them to gain compliance through a compliance schedule,” Butler said. “Violations that would lead to food-borne illness may require that a food establishment be closed until the violation is corrected.”

Also of note: all inspections are “surprise inspections.”

“No forewarning is given to the establishment,” Butler said.

Read more about restaurant inspections on Florissant Patch

  • Restaurant Inspections: Crest Bowl Bar & Grill's New Owner 'Operating in Non-Compliance'
  • Restaurant Inspections: Mr. Yac's Cleans Up Its Act for Follow-Up Inspection
  • Restaurant Report: Bandana's Unable to Provide Hep. A Vaccination Records for Employees
dr January 30, 2013 at 02:38 PM
I don't think that totally answered her question.


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