The Environmental Health Services Division of Maricopa County is responsible for ensuring that the restaurants in the County comply with the Environmental Health Code. Each month the Department's inspectors visit food establishments across the Valley of the Sun.
Which Places are Inspected
Restaurants in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Tempe, Glendale and other local Maricopa County cities. In addition to restaurants, inspectors visit hotel kitchens, caterers, wholesalers, car washes, bakeries, food trucks, schools, company cafeterias, and grocery stores -- any place that prepares or sells food products.
If you have a favorite restaurant that you'd like to check out, or you want to know about your child's school cafeteria, or the sandwich shop where you work, you can see the inspection history of any establishment that serves/prepares food at the Maricopa County website.
How Maricopa Count Restaurant Inspections Are Done
The Maricopa County Environmental Health Services Department is responsible for ensuring that the restaurants in Maricopa County comply with the Environmental Health Code. Inspectors visit restaurants, caterers, food processors, prisons and jails, food warehouses, bakeries, and school cafeterias to evaluate the food safety practices in these establishments. The inspection of these businesses is conducted in accordance with the State of Arizona Food Code.
Maricopa County has adopted the FDA Model Food Code, which, simplified, breaks inspection items into either Priority Violations (Foodborne Illness Risk Factors), Priority Foundation Violations (the building blocks which are the control for priority violations) and Core Items (good sanitation practices that are not directly related to foodborne illness). As the name suggests, Priority Violations are the most critical, because they have been found to contribute to the hazards associated with illness or injury to patrons.
Core items relate more to premises, controls, and maintenance not directly affecting the food.
Obviously, Priority Violations noted by an inspector are more serious than other kinds. Examples of Priority Violations reported might include that employees of the restaurant have discharge from eyes, nose, or mouth; food being obtained from a source that is not approved; food not cooked, reheated or cooled at proper temperatures; food surfaces not clean or sanitized. Examples of Priority Foundation or Core violations reported by an inspector might include improper storage of utensils or linens, plumbing problems or restroom issues.
If you ate at a restaurant in the Phoenix area that you believe is putting customers at risk for foodborne illness, you can notify Maricopa County by filing a complaint.