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Examining food safety inspections as Detroit launches Dining with Confidence

Posted at 6:34 PM, Jun 26, 2024

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Today, the Detroit Health Department invited 7 News Detroit along for an up-close look at food safety inspections and discussed the Dining with Confidence ordinance.

RELATED STORY: Dining with Confidence ordinance passed by Detroit City Council

Dining with Confidence ordinance passed by Detroit City Council

Andre Miller, a customer at The Burger Truck said, “Anywhere you dine out. You always want it to be a nice, clean, and safe environment.”

He was pleased to learn The Burger Truck on Cass Avenue was deemed all those things after it passed its food safety inspection just minutes before his visit.

Environmental health specialist Sebrina Johnson performed the inspection.

She said inspectors must wash their hands when entering the food prep area, and “it also gives you the opportunity to make sure they have hot and cold running water.” That's a problem Johnson said some food trucks run into.

Passing an inspection falls in line with the city’s recently passed ordinance Dining with Confidence. Businesses will be required to display a placard showing their food is safe to eat.

The Burger Truck owner Kamal Alashkar said he's all for the ordinance.

“I’m thrilled about it because I feel like there’s... an ideology that people think food trucks are dirty just because it’s not like a restaurant that you can’t see inside of it, when it’s honestly the completely opposite. I know a lot of food truck owners that have cleaner food trucks than most restaurants," Alashkar explained.

Detroit city councilman Scott Benson, who introduced the Dining with Confidence explained, “What sparked this for me was Popeyes Chicken on 7 Mile and Gratiot. It was Church's Chicken on 7 Mile and Conant where you had the owners of those locations purposely selling tainted rotten food.”

He said the ordinance officially takes effect in October. Establishments like Jolly Pumpkin and Avalon on Canfield are a part of the voluntary pilot program.

RELATED STORY: Popeyes shuts down Detroit location after viral video reports roaches, unsanitary conditions

Popeyes shuts down Detroit location after viral video reports roaches, unsanitary conditions

Jolly Pumpkin and Avalon also passed their inspection.

General manager Jason Vandereyk said, "I tell my staff us managers, we implement it but they're the ones that execute it, and I'm very proud of every one of my staff that are here."

So what exactly are inspectors looking for?

VIDEO: Here's the 'Dining with Confidence' inspector checklist

VIDEO: Here's the 'Dining with Confidence' inspector checklist

Environmental health specialist Paul Barry explained, "We have all of our inspectors focus on the risk factors that might lead to a foodborne illness. So, that is proper holding of hot and cold food, proper cooking temperatures, good hygienic practices, sanitizing all their contact surfaces and food from food sources.”

If a restaurant fails to pass inspection, the city says it will get a red placard. However, as Detroit's chief public health officer Denise Fair Razo explains, that's not what anyone wants.

“We’re not in the business of shutting down restaurants. That’s not what we enjoy doing. What we do like to do is sit down with the restaurant and food truck owner, let them know that they do have violations and we’ll do whatever we can to make sure that they correct those violations, and they’re up to code again,” she said.