Greensboro, NC -- This "2 Wants To Know" Restaurant Report Card is all about you, as in how you can make a restaurant complaint and what happens when you do.
Scott Greene with Guilford County Environmental Health walked us through the process.
"If they see a questionable food handling or sanitation issue they should call us as soon as possible." Scott said he got a call recently about someone making a complaint from last fall. By that point, an inspector can't see if there is a problem, so don't wait!
Guilford County receives between three and four complaints a week. "The most common complaints that we receive are hand washing/glove use, I ate there and got sick an hour later, flies/roaches and the food taste bad."
Scott says a fly here or there isn't really something an inspector would go out for. But if there were an abundance of flies, that would be a problem.
He said more often than not, what you'll see is someone handling money and then handling food, wearing gloves at the cash register, taking out the trash and then going to the food prep area.
Scott is quick to point out, he hears a lot of "the food tasted bad, but I ate it anyway." He says anytime it doesn't taste right or doesn't look right, don't eat it.
Restaurants, from the nice ones to the dives, all get complaints. "You need to be detailed in your complaint. They should include date, time of visit, what they consumed, if they spoke to a manger or employee, and pictures - if applicable."
In most counties a complaint starts with a phone call. Once the inspector gets all your information the process begins.
"Inspector prioritizes the complaint based on risk, and laboratory confirmed food-borne illness is highest priority. The inspector goes to the restaurant, always unannounced. Existing issues are addressed and corrected. If no problem is noted the inspector will educate the operator and staff on general safe practices."
Scott adds the most common types of pathogens causing a food-borne illness take 12-36 hours to produce symptoms, not one hour. Chances are, if you immediately get sick after leaving a restaurant, it's from something you ate the day before.
Environmental Health/Restaurant Inspection Numbers:
Alamance County 570-6367
Davidson County 242-2300
Davie County 753-6780
Forsyth County 703-3225
Guilford County 641-3771
Randolph County 318-6262
Rockingham County 342-8180
Stokes County 593-2403
Surry County 401-8400
Wilkes County 651-7450