MOUNT VERNON — The Knox County Health Department now posts food inspection reports on its website.
Nate Overholt, environmental health director, said it is all public information, and the decision to post online came through the Health District Licensing Council.
“Anyone has always been able to come to the office and request to look at any of our food files,” he said. “If anybody is curious what their last inspection report was, they’ve always been able to look it, but they’ve always had to come in here [to the health department].
“In this day and age, it was just time, I think, to make them more easily available for the public — they can just go online.”
Interested parties can see any food violations the department has written. If a place has no violations, that will show up, too.
“We’re not just doing this to show all the bad things that we could possibly be seeing out there,” said Overholt. “If someone is doing their job right and they have a good report, that’s going to show up as well.”
Whether or not the reports should be used to determine where one should eat is up to the consumer, Overholt said. “This is basically a snapshot in time,” he said. “I don’t want people to take these inspections lightly by any means, but people have to be aware that though they may have either a good inspection or a bad inspection on one day, doesn’t necessarily mean that’s how it always is. It means that when we came in [to inspect], that is what we saw. If there were violations and they got them corrected while we were there, we normally note ‘corrected during inspection.’ That tells me they are willing to work with us.”
Overholt said the reports currently online are those completed in the month of March.
“It will take a little while to get the others,” he said, “because we have over 300 places that we inspect, including restaurants, hospitals, schools and nursing homes.”
To access the latest reports, go to www.knoxhealth.com.