The annual Restaurant Health Code Violations story was in the paper over the weekend. If "slime beginning to form on the soda dispenser gun" is the worst thing we have to worry about in our local restaurants, then we are in pretty good shape around here. I'd encourage you to check out the "Dirty Dining" feature that WTMJ TV in Milwaukee does a regular basis. You would be growing all of your own food if you watched that every day. I don't recall seeing "Rat Infestation" or "Mold on Food" listed among the Oshkosh violations.
The list also shows just how thorough a job our local inspectors are doing. I imagine its a bit easier to keep up with the check ups when you have fewer restaurants to keep an eye on. Hopefully they will be able to step up their "Dance Floor" and "Jukebox" inspections now that the Common Council has decided to retain the fees charged to establishments to have such things in their bars and restaurants.
The biggest thing that I take away from the health code violations story every year is all of the requirements placed on restaurants and bars in the name of health. You can't store raw foods above ready to eat items, you have to wash dishes at a certain temperature, bar glass washers have to have a certain percentage of chlorine in them, foods must be held at very specific temperatures. All of which leads me to wonder why the main comment we get from bar and restaurant owners who oppose smoking bans is "The government shouldn't tell me how to run my business."
I would think that indoor air quality would be as important to a business owner as making sure the tenderloin tips aren't going to cause an e-coli epidemic--or that employees are washing their hands after using the bathroom. Would you frequent an establishment that has a mold problem--or is doing some remodeling and not controllling the asbestos dust?
You don't realize how nice the smoking bans here in the Fox Valley are until you go out in places without one. We took my mother-in-law out to eat Saturday night in Green Bay. You almost forget how to answer the "Smoking or Non?" question when you don't get it for a couple of years. And waiting in the bar area for our table? You start counting the minutes until the July 5th statewide ban goes into effect.
That's when we will take another big step toward "safe dining"--no matter where we go.