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County May Streamline Restaurant Inspections

Restaurant inspections in Maricopa County may be changing. The proposed changes are part of the county’s effort to streamline its regulatory processes. County leaders say the goal is to make it easier for restaurant owners and the public.

Everything from after-hours inspections to improved technology to translation services are being suggested in the task force report that will be presented to the county board of supervisors today.

The after-hours inspections would reduce disruption during business hours, according to the report. Businesses requesting after-hours inspections could be required to pay an additional fee. Another recommendation is to develop a new cover sheet for inspection reports explaining the nature of the inspection in non-technical terms.

Another suggestion is to have inspectors talk briefly with the owners before the formal review begins to lessen the tension and increase cooperation. Twenty recommendations will be presented to the supervisors.

There are more than 3,000 full service and fast food restaurants in the county. All food service operators are scheduled to go through two routine inspections a year.

Al Macias, former KJZZ news director, is part of an elite class of trusted, veteran journalists who have covered Arizona news for more than 30 years.