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State changing current practices - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

State changing current practices

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A recent state legislative auditor's report found some major problems.  It found the Office of Public Health issued permits to some retail food establishments with uncorrected violations.  O-P-H rarely uses formal enforcement actions to address violations.  The office's current enforcement process does not appear to deter non-compliance.  And inspection results are not fully disclosed to the public.  Assistant Public Health Secretary J.T. Lane says his office asked for the audit, so it could find and fix problem areas.  He says, "the findings were what we anticipated.  So in February, we started an overhaul of what we found."  Matthew Linn is a former restaurant owner.  He owned a restaurant for 10 years before selling it.  He says his restaurant was inspected before it opened, and then once a year after that.  Linn says, "Each inspector has certain things they look over more than other things."  But in the 10 years that Linn ran his restaurant, the number of inspectors in Shreveport - Bossier City dropped.  In 2002, there were 7 inspectors in Caddo Parish, 6 in Bossier.  Ten years later, there are only 4 on the job in Caddo in 1 in Bossier.  But state officials say there are 4 funded positions they are trying to fill.  2 would be in Bossier, 1 in Caddo and 1 would float between the two parishes.  Lane says the number of inspectors is not the issue, it's finding how they can be more productive and efficient.  Health officials have worked to standardize inspections and scheduling, as well as establishing a single office to handle the inspection reports.  Lane says people should feel safe and he still eats out every day. Click here for restaurant inspection reports.

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