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Take a Number

Does the health department's grading system ensure safe restaurants? Or is it just fuzzy math?

"From an administrative viewpoint, the current system cuts down on the department's workload. I think the health department is horribly understaffed. They have maybe 30 or 40 inspectors for maybe 9,000 restaurants in Houston." (In fact, Barton notes as of January 10, there are 13,269 establishments, which includes all food-related businesses in addition to restaurants, and that there are currently 32 full-time field staff.) "They should have 300 or more with the current system," Kapoor continues. "If everyone had to have some training in safe food handling, it would make the health department's job easier. The onus, however, should not be placed on the health department to institute such a program. That is the job of the city leadership, the mayor and the city council."

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