Problem Identification:
The Department has limited capabilities to notify the public about local food establishments with multiple health-related violations.

Recommended Action:
Identify food establishments with repeat health violations in the Food section of The Sun and other local newspapers.

Service Improvement

Functional/Operational Area:
Environmental Health

Estimated Annual Impact:
Cannot be Estimated

Estimated Implementation Costs:

Barriers to Implementation:
The potential unwillingness of local print media to participate in the implementation of this initiative.

Projected Implementation:
30 – 60 days

Next Steps:
Have the Department pursue meetings with local print media sources to discuss the regular publication of lists of local food establishments with repeat health violations. The Department should also develop and publicize guidelines as to the criteria for having violation information publicized through this initiative.

Establishments that serve food are required to be licensed and the Department is responsible for conducting regular inspections to ensure that the appropriate level of cleanliness exists for the safe preparation and service of food.

While regular inspections and the issuance of violation notices motivate the operators of these establishments to maintain their operations in a sanitary manner, the thought of the negative publicity that would accompany having the violations regularly reported in the print media could prove a powerful incentive to the operators of these establishments to increase efforts to meet all applicable health codes.

During the course of its fieldwork, multiple members of the Health Department project team mentioned that The Washington Post regularly lists information about food establishments with health violation in its weekly Food section. It is reportedly one of the most well read sections of that newspaper.