Erie County posts restaurant inspections

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – For the first time, Erie County is posting inspections for the county’s 3,500 restaurants.

The launch follows a “Dicey Dining” series in which News 4 Investigates revealed that Erie was the only county in New York State not to post its restaurant information on a state website or its own site.

News 4 obtained the county’s restaurant inspections database from Erie County and offered it for public view on WIVB.com starting November 11th.

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You can search all Erie County inspections since 2011 and search by city or town and search for restaurants by the number of violations on WIVB.com.The News 4 app also contains a link to the searchable database that you can access on your smartphone or tablet. click for smartphone | click for tablet

By creating its own website Erie County gives the public all restaurant and school inspection information on a timely basis. Erie County Health Commissioner Gale Burstein said that the public can expect to see inspection information within approximately two weeks of an inspector’s actual site visit.

“Our ECDOH website has the most up-to-date and comprehensive restaurant and school cafeteria inspection reports available for public review in a very user-friendly format,” Burstein said in a prepared statement.

The inspection reports can be searched by restaurant name, municipality or street name. They can also be sorted by restaurant or school cafeteria name, or by the most recent inspection date. The site also includes definition information on critical, non-critical and repeat violations. The restaurant information can be found at  http://www.healthspace.com/erieny.

“Say you live in Orchard Park. You can just click on Orchard Park , and all the restaurants in Orchard Park will be listed,” says Burstein.

Burstein says users will be able to see restaurant inspections going back to January 2012.  Violations are listed, categorized and broken down into critical and non-critical violations.  “It explains also if they were corrected on site or later on, what they found on repeat inspections,” she says.

The data on WIVB.com has been popular with the public.  Over a ten day period WIVB.com received over a million page views for the Dicey Dining interactive guide.from desktop and mobile users.

“Dining out can become very expensive now,” Burstein says. “So, you want to know that the kitchen where they’re preparing your food that you’re paying a lot of money for is a safe place to eat.”

‘It’s a win-win situation to have a good clean restaurant and practice good food safety habits.”

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