Just the Facts

The purpose of this feature is to be transparent and direct with the community about topics relating to the City of DeKalb. The feature is an effort by the City of DeKalb to dispel rumors and clear up confusion on a variety of matters. Just the Facts will be updated as rumors, misperceptions, or topics of confusion arise in the community. 

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Apr 13

Does the City engage in sanitary inspections of food service establishments?

Posted on April 13, 2018 at 1:44 PM by Ray Munch

The City recently received the following inquiry:

If 16.01 of the City Code reads, “The licensing and sanitary inspection of food service and food store establishments within the City of DeKalb shall be conducted by the DeKalb County Health Department, in accordance with rules and regulations prescribed by the DeKalb County Code,” were the City’s recent actions for Lord Stanley’s, Common Grounds, and the Annex in conflict with the city code?

The City does not engage in sanitary inspections of food service establishments in the fashion that the County Health Department does.  There is no discrepancy in this instance.  The City does not test food temperatures, verify disinfectant measures, review food preparation and expiration dates, or take similar actions that are “in accordance with rules and regulations prescribed by the DeKalb County Code.”  The City does not have codes that address food temperature or preparation. 

However, pursuant to the very next paragraph in the Section cited by the resident who posed the above question, the City is authorized to conduct fire-life safety inspections at food service establishments.  In the course of those inspections, as outlined in the remainder of that Section, the City enforces those requirements which also include an evaluation as to whether the “building’s management, owner, or occupants conduct, maintain or allow to exist conditions or violations of any/all locally adopted building codes, this Municipal code and the Unified Development Ordinance of the City…or which are a menace to the health safety or general welfare of the public” (Section 16.06 (3) ).  These basic codes are applicable to all properties (restaurant or not) and address building sanitation and conditions, such as the organic growth observed to be occurring in the basement of Lord Stanley's.  If that same form of growth was observed in any property, it would have been cause for significant concern.  That it occurred in such close proximity to food may heighten the level of potential harm to the public, but the underlying violation is a violation of City code, regardless of the type of building.  The City's inspection did not extend to any matters not covered by City Code and did not violate the ordinance cited above.  Chief Building Official Mack's inspection report cited to sections of the 2015 International Property Maintenance Code, as adopted by the City, which is uniformly applicable to all structures in the City. The City does and will always defer to the Health Department on food-related items as the City Code is currently written.