Out of 4,500 food permit holders in the county, only a handful win the Food Safety Excellence Award from district, the county’s public health agency. This year seven winners in six categories were honored at the Feb. 11 meeting of the Health Board.
The Health District’s food safety inspectors nominate only food service businesses that have no food code violations in the past year. After that, nominees’ inspection reports are scrutinized by the Food Advisory Committee, a group of restaurant owners, managers, chefs and food safety specialists who volunteer their time to advise the Health District on policies and procedures. In 2013, all food permit holders also were required to learn and apply the updates in the state’s Food Code, with coaching from the inspectors.
Without an exception, each year’s winners credit teamwork in their kitchens, habitual practice of food safety precautions, education from the food safety inspectors, and the Food Code’s high safety standards.
2013 Excellence Award Winners
Full Menu Establishment–Readi Spaghetti, 21225 Bothell-Everett Highway, #101, Bothell, Wash. Jon Anderson, owner. Mr. Anderson actively manages the kitchen’s daily operations to achieve excellent food safety practices.
Fast Service Establishment–Country Burger, 3110 Lakewood Rd., Arlington, Wash. David Babeaux, owner. Under Mr. Babeaux’s management, the business has become one of the cleanest and best operated food facilities in Snohomish County. The staff members are well trained in food safety practices.
Limited Menu Establishment–Cold Stone Creamery, 3000 – 184th St. S.W., #914, Lynnwood, Wash. Louis Mazza, owner. Through the owner’s conscientious management of his diligent staff, this establishment had zero food safety violations in the last four Health District inspections.
Grocery Store–Two stores tied for this award.
Wal-Mart #3757, 4010 – 172nd St. N.E., Arlington, Wash. J. E. Fritz Fittinger, store manager. This store is noted for its excellent sanitation practices, and for management involvement with daily operations.
Haggens, 1301 Ave. D, Snohomish, Wash. Troy Moore, store manager. Even with budget and staff reductions, each inspection verifies that excellent food safety practices are in place.
School/Industry/Institution–Cascade High School in the Everett School District, 810 E. Casino Rd., Everett, Wash. Debbie Rainwater, kitchen manager. Ms. Rainwater and her top-notch kitchen team serve two lunches daily to 1800 students while maintaining the highest level of attention to food safety.
Temporary Food Establishment–Ohana BBQ. Edward Grammer, owner. This operation is fairly new, but has established progressive food safety practices when inspected at the Marysville Strawberry Festival.
Snohomish Health District created the Excellence Awards program in 1989 as a positive reinforcement of its restaurant and food service inspection program. The public health agency’s 11 food safety inspectors visit every establishment at least once throughout the year. They inspect restaurants with more extensive – and potentially hazardous – menus three times a year. School kitchens, temporary food booths, assisted living businesses and grocery store meat markets, bakeries, and delis are all inspected to ensure food safety.
You can search food inspection reports online at www.snohd.org. Search for “restaurants.”
In addition to inspecting food facilities, the Health District offers classroom and online training for food workers and managers. In 2013 more than 28,169 Snohomish County food handlers received food safety training.
Call 425.339.5250 to learn more about the Food Program at Snohomish Health District, or go to www.snohd.org.
Established in 1959, the Snohomish Health District works for a safer and healthier Snohomish County through disease prevention, health promotion, and protection from environmental threats.