About Food Inspections
There are nearly 20,000 food-service establishments in Houston. In this section of EveryBlock, you can find out how establishments near you-- from the neighborhood Starbucks to the food cart in the park-- fared when they were inspected by the Houston Department of Health and Human Services.
Each result shows the location and date of the inspection, the type of inspection that was conducted (routine, pre-opening inspection, change of ownership inspection, etc.), the facility's type (full-service restaurant, day care center, hospital, etc.), any violations found during inspection and the facility's status.
The last category is important. If an establishment's status is "Open," the establishment met city requirements with only minor violations or had no violations at the time of the inspection. An establishment that corrects violations during the inspection may also be marked "Open."
But the status of "Closed temporarily" appears if the establishment had serious violations that weren't corrected during the inspection. The business must correct violations promptly and comply with city requirements as needed. The health department will conduct a reinspection within specified time limit — anywhere from 24 hours to one month, based on existing violations.
A status of "Closed temporarily" is also given if the establishment did not correct numerous or serious violations during the inspection.
Also, note that the violation labels used by EveryBlock are slightly different than the those published on the health department's Web site, which lists violation numbers such as "20-21.1.(b)(3)." We at EveryBlock added the category under which each violation falls in Houston Food Ordinance rules. These are general categories, such as "Food supplies" and "Toilet facilities."
The data comes from the health department's food inspection search, part of the Houston Department of Health and Human Services' Digital Health Department. New records are added each day and we at EveryBlock look for new inspection results daily.
What else should I know about restaurant inspections?
According to Houston's Digital Health Department general information page each food-service establishment is inspected at least once a year. The inspections are conducted by city "sanitarians," who check 12,500 establishments and about 5,000 temporary food establishments. The number of inspections that an establishment receives per year depends upon its assigned category (full-service restaurant, day care center, produce peddler, etc.) and inspection history. Inspections may be conducted in response to complaints or suspected food-borne illnesses.
Sanitarians take action when there is an immediate health risk or the food-establishment operator has not responded to previous inspections and trainings. Those actions may include reinspections, municipal court citations, temporary closures, product or equipment quarantines and permit suspensions or revocations. Note that the health department removes inspections from its database for establishments that have gone out of business.
The health department adds some important caveats about its information, noting that "the City of Houston cannot be responsible for any discrepancies between information posted on [its] website and actual inspection reports."
The department also says that the inspections are merely allegations, and "may reflect inspections that have not yet been adjudicated." The department goes on to say the information available on the food inspection search "describes conditions found only at the time of the last inspection and is not intended to provide a historical picture of the establishment."
- Source Houston Department of Health and Human Services
- Updated Daily