City of Kent is looking to make health inspections more transparent

By: Pamela Marotta, Kristie Graybill, and Xiafan Li

In the city of Kent there is a wide variety of restaurants to choose from. Ray’s place, The Puffer Belly, Panini’s, Wild Goats Café along with many other tasty restaurant choices that all have health inspections done throughout the year. This is a way for people to have the ability to decide which restaurants are the safest to eat at.

According to the city of Kent’s health department website, the restaurants that have health code violations are provided. However, it does not state which code has been violated at each individual restaurant. Chief of Kent’s Public Health Sanitarian, Jeff Smith suggests that one of the smallest violations could be the restaurant manager not knowing who is working in their kitchen, it is important to check ID’s. “They should know who is in their kitchen, at all times,” Smith says. Another smaller violation can be caused by something as small as wearing too much jewelry, even live strong bands.

Green, yellow & red stickers that indicate health inspection violations.

A big concern is to the consumers who are unaware of these violations that the Kent restaurants may or may not have, nor do consumers know they can visit the City of Kent’s health department website to find out about these violations. In many cities such as Columbus, the solution to this issue is resolved with stickers located on the windows of restaurants that indicate the level of health inspection violations. Green stickers show that the restaurant has passed the health inspection, while yellow stickers indicate some changes need to happen in order to have less violations. Red stickers are red like a stop sign for a reason. Those restaurants have a large amount of health inspection violations, which has caused that restaurant to close. Smith says they are looking into using the sticker concept in Kent to help consumers see which restaurants are safe to eat at. “It’s something on the radar to do in the near future,” Smith says.

The Center for Disease Control estimates that roughly 1 in every 6 Americans get sick from food borne illness and about 3,000 die from food borne diseases every year. The inspections done in Kent can help lower that statistic just by informing the health inspection violations at restaurants.

Taco Tontos located in Kent


rays place
Ray’s Place located in Kent

Carol Swearin, manager at Taco Tontos agrees that the sticker violation aspect will benefit consumers but will not be in the favor of business owners if their health inspections are not up to par.  Manager of the restaurant Ray’s Place, Charlie Thompson also agreed with how these stickers can affect business. “Whoever’s doing that particular inspection at that particular place, one guy can rate a place one way and then the next guy comes in at a different time and he rates the place differently,” Thompson says. With people constantly getting sick from food borne illnesses change needs to occur with informing the consumers of these health inspection violations at restaurants in Kent.