Audit: Restaurant Inspections Don’t Ensure Safety

By MELINDA DESLATTE | November 28, 2012

A new audit says Louisiana’s Office of Public Health has fallen short in its inspections of restaurants and other retail establishments that serve food, failing to ensure the meals are safe.

The audit says the state issued permits to restaurants that didn’t correct past violations, rarely assessed penalties to violators of safety standards and doesn’t meet its own inspection standards.

The review of the regulation of food safety standards by Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera’s office was released Monday.

Of nearly 450,000 violations over three years reviewed by auditors, the Office of Public Health levied penalties on two establishments – and didn’t collect any of those penalties.

Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein agreed with most of the audit’s recommendations and said his agency is working to strengthen inspections and enforcement.

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