Checking Up On Restaurant Inspections - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Checking Up On Restaurant Inspections


When it comes to restaurant inspection reports, there's no hiding if you've got cleaning or food issues in a restaurant. 

"We're going to be as specific as possible," Scott County Environmental Health Specialist Karen Payne says. 

"For the most part, most anything you find in a restaurant, you could find a category here for," Rock Island County Director of Environmental Health Paul Guse adds. 

In Iowa, you can find every inspection report on a state website where you can look up any restaurant by county and name. 

Scott County has had its own website for over ten years, covering over 1000 different food licenses for the public to see.  

Payne says having reports online helps keep restaurants accountable. 

"They realize their inspections are on the web and people can go see them easily," she says, "Anything that you know if they don't like what they see at one establishment, they'll just go to another." 

In Illinois, finding reports is a different story. Some counties, like Lee County, have full inspection reports online. Others like Knox and Whiteside counties publish only overall scores, not detailed reports, in the local newspaper or online. 

An online system can sometimes cost upwards of $20,000 so if you want to read up on a restaurant in certain counties, like Rock Island County, you won't find it as easily. 

"It's something we had budgeted a few years ago and with budget cuts we couldn't follow through with that," Guse says. 

If you're looking for a report, you have to go to the health department and file a ‘Freedom of Information Act' request, something Guse says rarely ever happens.  

"We do want the public to be able to access food service records, and it could make it more efficient for us too," he says, "Temporarily we're not in a position economically we can do that."

If all else fails, there's other ways to check before you sit down to eat. Inspection reports are supposed to be posted in the restaurant for all to see, if you can find it. 

"Unfortunately it says available for the public in a conspicuous place at eye level," Payne says, "That can be any place in the facility; some people still don't realize it needs to be posted, it's been in the office," 

Not having the report visible is a violation, so you can report that to your local health department if you don't see it. 

Inspectors also recommend taking a look around and paying close attention to the staff. 

"You can sometimes get a recent history of what's gone on there by the way it looks and the way you see people," Guse says, "Are they confident in what they're doing, do they really know what they're doing?" 

Whether it's online, in the newspaper, or in person, the information on what goes on in the kitchen is out there if you look.

Here are links to local inspection reports in your area: 


State of Iowa:

Scott County:  


Lee County:

Whiteside County:

If you don't see your county, please call your local Health Department's Environmental Health Division. You may have to go in and file a Freedom of Information Act request to get the information.


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