Kate McCarty of The Blueberry Files blog takes a thoughtful look at a subject that has risen to the top of front pages and bar-stool discussions in recent months: restaurant health inspections. Anyone who thinks of the inspection report published regularly in The Portland Press Herald as what some newsrooms snarkily call "the dirty list" should think again - and read McCarty's post before going down "the rabbit hole of paranoia." She points out that the Maine Food Code is a "beast of a document" and that a good number of potential violations have nothing whatsoever to do with things that could make you sick. After investigating what the deal is with "poor Nosh ... left hanging with a 'Failed' status from August 22, 2011":
A hand wash station that runs out of paper towels and is not restocked for a shift is out of compliance with the food code. But read 'improper hand wash' and everyone thinks E.coli in the appetizers ... The sinister 'improper employee drinking habits' violation was fixed while the inspector was still there - employee drinks just need to have lids on them and not be kept on a workstation. But would you decline to visit a restaurant because the ice bin doesn't have a "proper air gap" or because the trash cans in the women's room don't have lids? Both of these violations contributed to Nosh's failed health inspection.