Restaurant inspections aren’t secret

Published 10:02 am Wednesday, September 1, 2010

By almost all accounts, the Ironton Health Department works hard inspecting the city’s more than 30 restaurants, bars, grocery and convenient stores. So what is the problem?

The public has no way of knowing the results of those inspections.

Depending on how you look at it, health department officials have been resistant at best — and essentially refused at worst — when it comes to releasing the results of these inspections.

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These documents are public records under the Ohio Revised Code and any assertion otherwise is incorrect.

The health department has not released this information when requested by The Tribune on at least three occasions and once again seem to be reluctant to do so.

The intentions may be true but the aim is off target.

It may be a matter of simply not fully understanding the law. Or it may be that health officials don’t want to potentially embarrass any local businesses.

Ultimately, the rationale is irrelevant.

The bottom line is that tax dollars fund the mandated health inspection program and the taxpayers deserve to know the results. They deserve to know if the establishments that they frequent are up to their own standards.

Simply saying pass or fail is not enough. Citizens deserve the opportunity to see the results.

We have requested these documents in the past and will allow this to serve as a formal request for the monthly health inspection reports.

It doesn’t matter how well inspections go, if the public isn’t aware of or convinced of the validity of the results. That can only truly come through transparency.