Opinion

Good news for foodies - more exposure for restaurant closures

From the Editorial Board

Jerry Caird, Thurston County environmental health specialist, looks under shelving in the dry storage area while inspecting a local restaurant. Pierce County is now catching up to Thurston and other jurisdictions by more openly reporting restaurant health closures.
Jerry Caird, Thurston County environmental health specialist, looks under shelving in the dry storage area while inspecting a local restaurant. Pierce County is now catching up to Thurston and other jurisdictions by more openly reporting restaurant health closures. Olympian file photo, 2015

Tacoma-Pierce County officials this week made a welcome announcement to local dining consumers that could be summed up in the form of a toast: Here’s to your health.

After years trailing neighboring King and Thurston counties in the depth and transparency of restaurant closure information, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department will start sending out subscriber email alerts when it shuts down a dining establishment for any reason.

There also will be an expanded menu of restaurant inspection data posted to the department website, for foodies who really like to dig into their pre-meal research.

Of course, some people enjoy eating out but get most of their information the old-fashioned way. For their benefit, health officials will henceforth start posting closure signs on the front door or window of a restaurant.

As we said in a previous editorial, the public would be well served if officials would adopt an accessible restaurant food-safety rating system, similar to what’s found in places such as Seattle-King County and New York. In the fast-moving dining scene, full of fly-by-night establishments and a growing fleet of neighborhood food trucks, people should have confidence that what they’re putting in their stomachs won’t make them sick.

But for now, we raise our glass and toast the local health department: Here’s to your responsiveness.

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