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Restaurant Closures Common

After the temporary closure of two Columbia restaurants, ABC 17 News looked into what health inspectors look for when they do checks and how often.On average, six to ten businesses are closed every year because of health violations.The health department says the city and county have enough inspectors. Manager Kala Gunier says restaurants closing down does not mean they are lacking inspectors, just that they are doing their jobs.”There are 811 food establishments in Columbia and Boone County,” said Gunier. “And those are inspected based on the food they prepare and are inspected two to three times a year.”Gunier says the health department has seven health inspectors, who are responsible for 135 restaurants each. Every year, the inspectors close six to ten restaurants due to violations.”I dont think it’s a lot,” Gunier said. “You know we’re only doing our jobs if occassionally that happens.”Other restaurants that have been shuttered in the past for various reasons include Joe Joe’s Pizza, Taj Mahal and the Midway restaurant.”People not wshing their hands, food stored improperly so raw food stored with ready-to-eat foods, just miscellaneous sources of contamination, as well as presence of pests,” said Gunier. “So it is a lot of the same things that lead or cause food-borne illness.”The health department has three criteria for shutting down restaurants. There has to be a violation of ten or more critical items, 25 or more non-critical items, or a combination of 30 items for a restaurant to close.Once an eatery is closed down, they are not allowed to reopen until all of the violations are corrected and they pass another health inspection.

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