Health Inspections Listed On-Line

Belle writes: The Virginia Department of Health announced yesterday that it has placed on-line records of its recent inspections of the Commonwealth?s eateries — restaurants, school cafeterias, street vendors, caterers — including those dishing it up in our local area. Bon appétit! [Nota bene: the webpages are loading very slowly today.]

Dang…there are a few places I won’t be eating any more.

16 Responses to “Health Inspections Listed On-Line”


  • With the abundance – if not overabundance – of web site development firms in the Commonwealth of Virginia, I find it troubling that the Virginia Department of Health has contracted with a Canadian firm, HealthSpace Integrated Solutions, to develop this new site.

    As a life-long Virginian and as somebody involved in e-Commerce (though not a developer myself), I am absolutely incensed by this. This state has hundreds, if not thousands, of talented local companies that could have done this job, and done it quite a bit better (the Canadian site doesn’t work well at all – certainly it’s VERY slow and has significant usability issues), yet our tax dollars are being sent not just out-of-state, but outside the country?

    I guess everybody is encouraged to buy state-made goods except the state itself. This is an outrage, and this is inexcusable.

  • I don’t think that it would bother me nearly as much if it weren’t Canadian. Not the country in specific, but the fact that they got the work done in another country. Or, at least, they host the site on a Canadian URL, which would be really weird if it weren’t made there. I mean, yeah, hiring a local developer would be best, but at least patronize businesses in this country, eh?

  • Depends on the reasons for going "offshore" – If it is because it is less expensive for as good or better product that`s fine – I think most taxpayers will agree.

    Let`s face it we have a world economy – which is an aspect touted by E-commerce folks and web site developers I believe.

    Deal with it. It happens everywhere, all the time, I think.

    The real "meat" here for consumers will be the frequency of inspections and followup action taken by the inspectors to assure compliance. (not to mention the howls from restaurant owners).

    Not a lifelong Virginian (if that makes any difference – never could understand these prefaces of As a veteran, as a teacher, as a Phd, as a journalist, as a ………..anyway although I have no quarrel with it just dont understand it) but my 35 years in residence is quite a while. My ancestors were here in the early 1700s if that makes my opinion worth one iota more which it shouldn`t but I`ll accept it!

  • You are absolutely right. Especially considering how much work the Commonwealth’s government has done to promote Northern Virginia as a tech haven for businesses. We can’t be hypocrites.

    This reminds me of the article I saw in an Indian newspaper a few months back. It talked about the great boon for local employment when the Republican National Committee hired their locals to man the phones under American-sounding names to make fund-raising calls to American donors. Talk about just not getting it!

    I have nothing against either Canada or India, but when American unemployment is hitting 6%, the last thing we need is our own leadership working against us. Whether its the GOP’s fundraising or a Democratic Governor’s administration, let’s keep the money in America.

  • The way I see it, Virginia’s government is intended to represent and benefit Virginia. By giving in-state businesses priority for state contracts, we can feed the money back into Virginia’s economy and recycle our tax base. Money that gets sent to Canada gets taxed by Canada- not Virginia.

    I think that even if foreign competition can do something for a little less money up front, the state budget will generally save money in the long run by keeping the capital in Virginia. We collect some amount of taxes from that company’s profit, more from the income taxes from the employees. Then when the employees spend their money on goods and services, we get to tax the money again in the form of sales taxes from the vendor. Etc.

    Recycling the tax base through in-state spending is beautiful and magical and everyone wins. Except for Canada.

  • I disagree entirely. The lowest price for programming labor is in India. It’s something like a buck an hour. Should we contract out all work to India? Indeed, should all government and commercial enterprises do so? The effects of doing so would be obvious: massive unemployment among people trained to be programmers, among people currently employed as project managers for those people, among people running those businesses that are in the business of programming. This logic of going to the cheapest global bidder means that the Army should have their uniforms made in China, the school system should purchase their beef from cows raised on former rainforest land in South America, and the city should have all printing done in Italy or South Korea.

    This, of course, would be horrible. The interests of keeping money in the local (or at least U.S.) economy nearly always far outweigh the interests of a cheaper bid. I can see getting this system developed by a company in Maryland. Or California. Or Guam. But another country? I’d really like to find out how that happened.

  • Anybody have any favorite inspections?

    I like Sal’s because it’s horrifying. And the Java Hut’s, because apparently it’s inappropriate to keep used coffee grounds in recycled food containers prior to disposing them. (Huh?) And I was surprised by the number of fancy-pants restaurants with nasty inspection results. And that fast food chains had largely spotless records, presumably because they have such a rigorously-enforced system that’s used in thousands of identical restaurants.

  • I haven’t been able to actually read it yet, because this crappy Canadian company that hosts it doesn’t seem to be able to handle the traffic.

  • I haven’t read the whole list, but . . .

    The Tavern: simply gross, but we knew that, right? Note to self: skip the gravy.

    Bellair Market surprised me with the number of violations, but these struck me as mostly harmless.

    I didn’t like seeing so many day-cares, schools, and retirement places with serious violations. The contrast with the fast-food places is striking — makes a McD Happy Meal seem less horrible.

    I’m glad they didn’t burden me with the details of Big Jim’s six critical violations. But that was the highest number I saw; did anyone see a place with more?

  • I looked at places I have eatened and pretty much I’m okay with the results. Some had as much as 7 critical but at the next two or three, had ZERO so it seems to me that they are working on things. Many had one or two critical and were immediately fixed. On the other hand, there was one place with 7 critical and it hasn’t improved much since then.

    It seems that the more dangerous places are those who serve buffet style foods and/or have very small places to work in. (Which makes sense.) (I’d also say that the regimentation of preparing foods at McD, wrapping, etc. is a big reason for their success rate.)

    One thing I was intrigued about was that many of the places got dinged for chemical spray. It is one of the things that annoy me — you’re eating and the people at the next table get up and leave. So your waitress or waiter comes over with a giant spray bottle and sprays away. The smell of disinfectant is quite vile and doesn’t quite go with your dinner.

    I guess it’s time to ask, "Do you want fries with that?"

  • C`mon Waldo – I was speaking of one lousy contract and you have introduced "chaos theory"

    in response. Niether of us know all the ramifications of the contract in question.

    Contract monitors do the best they can and I did say "for as good or better product".

    If I may then respond to you in the illogical extreme, then I would consider you an isolationist which I think is not a fact.

    I continue to think the initial complaint about the contract, coming from an Ecommerce person on behalf of a web developer, somewhat ludicrous as their business is one of international scope or at least most seem to strive for that.

  • … naturally.

    My favorite parts:

    "Entire kitchen area is noted in need of cleaning. …

    All food inside walk-in freezer appears to be unsound or adulterated."

  • is it just me, or is this website totally

    impossible to get any information from?

    once i finally navigated through to the

    list of cville restaurants, i had to click

    on each restaurant TWICE to even get

    a list of the violations, and even then

    it just listed them by number instead

    of by what the violation was… and the

    site was loading so slow i gave up

    before i could figure that part out.

    i guess it’s organized more like a legal

    document or something, instead of an

    informative resource for the average

    restaurant patron… but wouldn’t most

    of us prefer something like a chart, with

    a vertical list of restaurants and horizontal

    columns of violations for each inspection?

    it really boggles my mind that, not only do

    big important state and federal organizations

    contract out of the country and/or state for

    their web-design, but the design that they

    end up with is always clunky, difficult, and

    ugly. you’d think that after having the net

    be a Big Important Thing for a couple of

    years, most people would know what makes

    a web-page bad, but i guess you can’t teach

    an old dog new tricks, w/r/t the people who

    work at Big Important Organizations and do

    the hiring for their web-designers.

  • The money spent on Canadian web development is a drop in the bucket. Laughable!

    CNN estimates that 10 BILLION dollars flow into canada annually for illicit marijuana sales. I believe Ross Perot said it best, "A giant sucking sound". There are entire canadian towns and cities whos economies DEPEND on the marijuana trade. Basically if you’re not logging pine trees or drilling for oil, you’re smuggling pot. No wonder the mounties go so easy on them.

    And those american flags that we strap all over our SUVs? They’re ALL made in china. Good work morons…

    And don’t get me started on mexico… I believe they say it "Americano estupido".

    The vast majority of american currency exists outside our borders. Why don’t we just pour the stuff into the ocean and get it over with.

  • Well, here’s some food for thought:

    * Most inspections are scheduled, therefore places with larger corporate structures tend to do better on the ‘test’. This, however, does not necessarily mean they are better on a daily basis. For instance, the Arby’s on 29 North will put on a show for the scheduled visit, and has the means to shuffle best/worse personnel etc, but when you order a sandwich, watch out for undercooked, even raw, frozen chicken!!!

    * I happen to know intimately real-life operations of a several places that score high. Let’s just say this makes me skeptical about the rest of the results.

  • In my case, I want only to know why this contract went to a Canadian company. I don’t doubt that they have a very good reason. I would simply like to know what it is.

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