Montgomery County health officials are now posting restaurant inspection data online at the dataMontgomery website, launched last month as a part of the county’s open government efforts.
The website also includes residential permits, completed 311 requests, cable complaints, county contracts, and employee salaries, according to a county press release.
Users will be able to view inspection results online for restaurants and other food service establishments, including compliance with food safety requirements, nutritional labeling, the trans fat ban, and the posting of non-smoking signs, according to the release.
Users will also able to sort data by restaurant name or location and view violations and closures, according to county Health and Human Services spokeswoman Mary Anderson.
Restaurant inspection data has always been public record, Anderson said, though it hasn’t before been available online for the public to view and sort. The data, along with food inspection reports from neighboring jurisdictions, has been the subject of an ongoing health series by WUSA9. Montgomery County officials have been emailing the data to reporters there, Anderson said.
“The dataMontgomery folks have been looking at the kinds of things residents would probably be most interested in, and this was one that people thought would be useful to residents and helpful to them,” Anderson said.
Health inspectors with the county’s Licensure and Regulatory Services Program, part of the Department of Health and Human Services department, will upload inspection data daily into an online tracking system that will then be uploaded to dataMontgomery by county technology officials. If a restaurant is closed for violating health regulations, users will be able to view when it closed, what the violations were, the corrections that were made and when the restaurant will re-open, Anderson said.
Anderson said officials hoped to keep the data in context. Most restaurants closed for violations re-open quickly after correcting the problem and undergoing a re-inspection, Anderson said.