Merry Christmas from The Dakotan!
Published December 29, 2021

Before You Take a Bite 

Written by
Jasahd Stewart
| The Dakotan

MINOT—Nobody likes to find out their favorite place to eat is temporarily closed, especially if they discover it’s due to food and health code violations.  

First District Health Unit (FDHU) in Minot makes sure that food establishments are up to code to help mitigate the risk of people getting sick through deficiencies in food quality or being harmed by potential safety hazards. 

Environmental Health Practitioner Jayme Calavera with FDHU said, “[An establishment] is assumed to have a score of 100. If we find any violations in our code, everything is written down…once you get below a 70 then you enter into the realm of reinspection; below 60 results in closing.”  

Calavera explained violations which fall in the category of “high risk factors” need to be resolved, and the overall score needs to land at 60 or above before an establishment can reopen. 

If you plan on eating somewhere special over the New Year’s weekend, it might not hurt to check when the establishment last received an inspection and how well it scored.  

If you examine an inspection report of an establishment [link here], the lefthand side titled “Foodborne Illness Risk Factors and Public Health Interventions” deals with the most critical health and safety concerns that need to be addressed. 

Sample from food inspection chart [Image from FDHU Inspection Search Portal]

The righthand side titled “Good Retail Practices” contains imperative measures for overall safety and quality of food, although they are somewhat less important or urgent than the issues on the left.  

The FDHU follows the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 2017 Food Code model:  

Aside from its regular annual or biannual inspections based on a food establishment’s risk level (see p. 23-24), the FDHU typically responds to legitimate complaints about food establishments that are reported by concerned citizens.  

FDHU’s services extend through several counties in North Dakota and do not end with the subject of Food Safety. It also deals with topics ranging from Air Quality to Public Health & Safety to Water Analysis and others.   

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