March 10, 2014
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Several northeast Kansas City, Mo., food establishments received the city’s Health Department Graade A Food Safety Excellence Award.
In total, 269 establishments were recognized for exhibiting excellence in sanitation and food safety, as well as employee education, during 2013. Jeff Hershberger, spokesperson for the health department, said this past year, the city had more establishments that went above and beyond the health code. Establishments that received the award included full-scale restaurants, fast-food establishments, school cafeterias, bakeries, convenience stores and grocery stores.
In the press release, the health department lists every establishment that received the award. However, when one looks at the list, they would notice the words “low, medium, moderate and high” next to the restaurants under the risk category. In the past, Hershberger said he would not include the risk category because, he admits, there’s the potential for confusion.
“We don’t want people to say ‘that’s a high risk place, we don’t want to eat there,'” Hershberger said.
He explained the risk levels deal with the menu size, as well as other codes. For example, Hershberger said, if a gas station only sells hot dogs and fountain drinks, it would be a lower risk of receiving a violation than an establishment with 45 menu items because more problems could crop up for the higher scale establishment.
“A restaurant like the Cheesecake Factory in the [Country Club] Plaza would be considered high risk because of its full menu size but also the size of its staff,” Hershberger said.
Hershberger said the just because an establishment isn’t on the list doesn’t mean it’s bad. He said a majority of establishments in the city do their best to be safe for everyone, but things sometimes pop up.
“If a place is open, we want people to expect the food to be safe,” Hershberger said.
All food establishments in Kansas City are inspected regularly by the health department. Those receiving the excellence award, approximately eight percent of the city’s 3,400 permitted food establishments, substantially exceeded the standards of the food code. A full list of the award winners can be seen at http://kcmo.gov/health/grade-a-food-safety-excellence-awards/2013-winners/.