Foodservice Equipment Reports

Windy City Grants Regulatory Relief To Clean Operations

Chicago’s operators will be coming clean, on their own, under a new self-certification plan. Recently inspected restaurants with no history of foodborne illness will be able to police themselves and send inspection reports to city hall, freeing the city’s 32 field inspectors to focus on high-risk establishments.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan would apply to restaurants which have passed inspections in the prior year, have not been closed for food safety issues for 36 months, and are “not implicated as a source of food borne outbreak” in the past three years.

Overall, about 2,500 of the city’s 15,000 licensed food establishments will be able to self-certify, including grocery stores, gas stations and other “low-risk” stores that primarily sell beverages and pre-packaged foods and have minimal food handling or prep.

The city code currently requires the Department of Public Health to inspect food establishments “at least once every six months, regardless of risk” and mobile food dispenser vehicles serving ice cream, frozen desserts and milk once every 90 days during the selling season.

The self-policing plan will run through November 2014. According to Chicago Health Commissioner Dr. Bechara Choucair, “It allows low-risk food establishments to take a more active role in the health safety of their own establishments and allows city resources to be allocated toward food establishments with a greater risk of causing food borne illness. Both of these will help ensure the health safety of Chicagoans.”