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Virginia Health Inspection Reporting

January 21, 2011
Janauary 21, 2011 - Letter Sent to Virginia Department of Health

The following letter was sent to the Virginia Department of Health in response to a bill presented in the Virginia State Legislature. The bill, at this point, has been “passed by” in committee and will not move forward.

Dear Gary,

With the introduction of House Bill 1927, which mandates the posting of a restaurant’s latest inspection report in a prominent location, we feel compelled to reach out to the Virginia Department of Health and express our concern on behalf of our Northern Virginia members.

The proliferation of these types of bills across the country should be of great concern to departments of health for reasons of protecting the health and interests of the dining public and promoting and maintaining a strong working relationship with the state’s licensed dining establishments. These types of “Posting” bills do neither.

The “snap-shot” view of a restaurant’s performance during a health inspection is what the public will see with the posting of its most current report. What they need to see to make an informed decision is a history of compliance – which is already available on-line through your website. The dining public needs to know that the report that is being posted does not reflect either a “good” day or a “bad” day, but a day typical of its level of compliance with health regulations over a long period.

The punitive, negative reinforcement nature of inspection postings drives a wedge into what should be a partnership between operators and the Department of Health. Good health and safety practices are good for business; a thriving business is good for the community. Health departments that work from the perspective of encouragement and education are far more likely to promote higher rates of compliance. A mandated “off with their heads” approach, such as this bill is proposing, will not achieve the desired results.

RAMW appreciates the effect that HB1927 might have on the Virginia Department of Health and Virginia restaurants, and, on behalf of our membership, wishes to express our support for your department and our strong opposition to this ill-considered bill.
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