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Health inspections of food sites on the Web

Curious about the cleanliness of your favorite haunt?

The Spokane Regional Health District has a new Web site that can give you a glimpse into the kitchen of every licensed food and beverage establishment in Spokane County.

Go to www.srhd.org/inspections to see reports back to 2005. If there were health violations, the reports highlight what caused the inspector to order corrections and, in some cases, to close an establishment for severe or repeated problems.

There is a handy section to help explain the inspection forms, a glossary and a list of tips for food safety while dining out.

Only the routine, unannounced inspections – as well as any follow-up reinspections – are available on the site. Complaints, illness investigations, pre-opening inspections and temporary food establishments are not posted online.

During their visits, inspectors focus on ill food worker policy, hand washing, bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods, food temperatures, food safety knowledge, cross-contamination and sanitation. The places health inspectors oversee include restaurants, schools, mobile vendors, coffee houses, delis, convenience stores, grocery stores, temporary events and other sites where food is sold or served to the public.

There are about 2,300 permitted permanent food establishments in Spokane County, according to the health department news release.

Cheese, please

University of Idaho professor Mark McGuire and Shelley McGuire of Washington State University were part of a team that recently released the results of a six-year study on the health benefits of pecorino romano cheese.

Researchers confirmed that the cheese, which is high in conjugated linoleic acid, has protective benefits against cardiovascular disease, enhances immunity and has anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties, according to a news release.

The study was conducted in Sardinia, Italy by Anna Nudda of the University of Sassari, Italy and professor Sebastiano Banni of the University of Cagliari, Italy.

Mark McGuire said the team’s research confirms that pecorino cheese can be a beneficial part of a balanced diet.

The McGuires are husband and wife. He is a professor of lactation biology and she is an associate professor of nutrition.

We’re always looking for fresh food news. Write to: The Fresh Sheet, Features Department, The Spokesman-Review, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210. Call (509) 459-5446, fax to (509) 459-5098 or send an e-mail to lorieh@spokesman.com.
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